S.F. Bay Area (and nearby-ish!) events, starting tomorrow! Go do things!
Events! We got ‘em! No time to dilly dally, let’s dive into the fray and get this party started and mix more metaphors and be grammatically insane forever!
Wednesday, Sept. 19 (that’s tomorrow! It might be too late for this one but you should try to get in anyway and then find out if they’ll be having more upcoming events and then email me about them and do my job for me thanks!)
A mind-blowing all-vegan three-course dinner prepared by the lovely and talented Ashley of Barefoot and in the Kitchen (the AWESOME new vegan cookbook!) and Fat Bottom Bakery fame. The meal will come from recipes in the cookbook so you can taste for yourself how delicious it is. And then buy several copies and give them as holiday gifts to me and others you care about less than me. It’s 6 to 8 p.m. at University Press Books (2430 Bancroft Way, Berkeley) and costs $25. It’s RSVP-only, seating is limited. For students and starving artists, there’s a discounted rate. Awww. For reservations and questions, email them!
A fundraiser for Farm Sanctuary’s Walk for Farm Animals at Saturn Cafe in Berkeley! Starts at 6pm, info and tickets here. Apparently a vegan feast is involved so if you can’t get into Ashley’s event, this could be a great second choice. Or a first choice. Do what you want, it’s your life!!
Saturday, Sept. 22
Music in the Meadow at Animal Place in Grass Valley! It’s a drive but it’s also beauuuutiful! And there will be pigs to play with! And OCD Sweets to consume! And John Robbins to harass! You can always stay in this awesome Airbnb house and enjoy not using your asthma inhaler because the air is too damn clean and gorge yourself on caramels and cuddle pigs until you just can’t take it anymore and you have to head home to the dirty, caramel-less, pig-less, terrible Bay Area. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., pre-order your tickets and get a goody bag filled with treats! Goody bags are where it’s at.
B12: Bomb Vegan Brunch. We went last time, it was hella good, definitely go eat everything. 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bissap Baobab (3372 19th St. between Capp and Mission, S.F.) Also on Sunday!
Sunday, Sept. 23 Millennium is having a nightshades and bloody mary cooking class! Girrrrrl, that sounds TASTY. If there are two things I love, it’s mushrooms and alcohol. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (with an option to join Eric Tucker at the Ferry Building Farmers’ Market on Saturday, Sept. 22, from 10 to 11 a.m.). Normally $150 but it’s $125 if you say you’re with Vegansaurus! The pink dino’s got the HOOK UP, Y’ALL. (Sometimes, mainly he just needs to borrow some cash.) (can I borrow some cash?) Call the lovely Alison at (415) 345-3900, ext. 13 to book. Learn how to cook from a true master and eat an amazing meal and drink bloody marys on Sunday, which was what god intended when he/she/it/them created the universe and everything in it. Also, I am probably going to this so come just to hang out with me because I’m a LAUGH A MINUTE (read: I will glare at you from a darkened corner) (sexily).
Farm Sanctuary’s Compassionate Communities campaign is leafletting and needs your help! The day starts with a light lunch (FREE FOOD!) and workshop on effective animal advocacy (very educational! We should all go to this and become better at doing what we do so the animal army doesn’t eventually rise up and eat us!) (We’ll have deserved it) before hitting the streets to leaflet at Market and Powell. Meet at 1 p.m. at 371 10th St. (the S.F. office of Beyond Eggs/Hampton Creek Foods).
B12: Bomb Vegan Brunch. We went last time, it was hella good, definitely go eat everything. 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Bissap Baobab (3372 19th St. between Capp and Mission, S.F.) Also on Saturday!
Monday, Sept. 24 More Farm Sanctuary veg leafletting, this time at U.C. Berkeley. Meet at Sather Gate (enter campus from Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Street; walk north through campus along Sather Road, which is a pedestrian walkway, about one block until you reach Sather Gate) from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
And you can leaflet on Market Street (meet on the walkway between the corner of Market and Steuart street and the entrance to the Ferry Building Marketplace) from 4 to 6 p.m. Email email@example.com or call (484) 904-6004 if you have questions about any of the Farm Sanctuary events.
I think that’s it on the events front for this week—or maybe I’m missing something!? What am I missing?? Underwear! That’s it! You’re welcome!
This Saturday: D.C. VegFest (including a CUPCAKE EATING COMPETITION)
This Sat, Sep 22, thousands of people will gather at Yards Park from 11am-6pm to celebrate compassionate and delicious living at the D.C. VegFest! It’s free, it’s dog friendly, there are awesome speakers (Jane Velez Mitchell! Rich Roll! Terry Hope Romero!), tasty cooking demos (BEYOND MEAT!), fun stuff for kids to do so they’ll leave you alone with the FREE FOOD, a BEER AND WINE GARDEN (my favorite words together ever, with the exception of “pan gravy” and “FREE FOOD”), and perhaps most importantly, A CUPCAKE EATING COMPETITION. If a Vegansaurus reader doesn’t win that, I don’t want to know this site ever again. And I mean that. This site better not even fucking LOOK at me if one of us doesn’t win that damn thing.
Compassion Over Killing and the Vegetarian Society of D.C., it looks to be hella fun, and the only reason to be anywhere near our nation’s capital ever. Seriously, D.C. is SO WEIRD! Everyone there dresses in business suits and talks about politics like they can actually do something good. The last time I was there, I saw people carrying BRIEF CASES. It was like, WHERE AM I? The opening scene of Joe Vs. the Volcano?? Someone give me a case of brain cloud and take me away from this misery! JK JK but seriously folks, there’s some very good food there, and a few non-profits (like COK!) who are fighting the good fight, and um… weather? There’s that. Oh, and the Spy Museum, that place is dope. Alan Turing 4 eva.
Think Pretty is a lovely vegan line of “beauty elixirs,” which are antioxidant, nutrient-rich facial serums. They make seven different elixirs; I tried You Make Me Feel So Young. The ingredients are definitely exciting!: Olive Squalane, Olive Leaf Extract, Red and White Tea Extract, Açai Berry Extract, Blackerry Seed Oil, Coenzyme Q-10, Immortelle Oil, Orchid Extract. Oh my! That sounds hella healthy!
After trying this, my official word is that I very much like the stuff! The results weren’t super-drastic, but the elixir went on nicely, absorbed well, and my skin was soft and dewy. I love dewy skin!
So, my little friends, just for you guys we are holding a giveaway, AND I’ve got a discount code for you!
Giveaway: To enter to win your own bottle of Think Pretty beauty elixir, leave a comment on this post telling me why natural skincare products are the bomb. I will pick a winner next Tuesday!
Discount: To get 25 percent off all Think Pretty products, enter “AutumnPretty25” (not case specific) when purchasing. This code is active now until Oct. 31!
Support Walk for Farm Animals and get some cakeballs!
One of our favorite commenters, Mandy Brown, is participating in Farm Sanctuary’s Walk for Farm Animals! But that’s not all: Anyone who donates $10 or more on Mandy’s page will get a dozen homemade vegan cakeballs. That’s right! I’m so happy that cakeballs are a thing now, right?
Above are last week’s chocolate-banana cakeballs. What’s this week’s flavor, you ask? Well, the first person to donate this week will get to pick the flavor! The first person of the week to donate $10 or more gets to decide the cakeball flavor for everyone. FUN!
Bonus: the sugar will be organic and vegan, the chocolate will be fair-trade, and Mandy’s kitchen is gluten-free, so they’re celiac safe. Yay!
To donate, check out Mandy’s page. There’s a pic of a cute baby pig!
CLOSED--Giveaway: Win FREE tickets to vegan pop-up restaurant Wildflower in L.A. this weekend!
It’s the first giveaway from Vegansaurus Giveaway Week! This one is just for women-type people who will be in the L.A. area this weekend. But we’ll have plenty more prizes this week for everybody!
Hey ladies! Remember when Chef Ayinde Howell’s vegan pop-up Wildflower was in S.F.? Now it’s coming to L.A.! This Saturday, Sept. 22, Chef Ayinde will be cooking a five-course meal, JUST for ladies. And Vegansaurus is giving away two free tickets! To enter to win, leave a comment on this post explaining why L.A. is a vegan food wonderland.
Wildflower, the one-of-a-kind crowd-funded vegan pop-up phenomenon that debuted last year to sold-out crowds of New York foodies, will be bringing its artisanal plant-based creations to Los Angeles on Saturday, Sept. 22. Chef Ayinde Howell will be curating the first of the brand’s “Good Living” sessions—a festive dinner party, with cocktails and a chef demo. This is a ladies-only event, and guests will receive special gift bags filled with goodies.
Why woman-only? Women are the last minority in America to rise, and their power years are just in their infancy. Managing stress, work, success, family and a healthy diet can be hard to balance. Chef Ayinde is here to show you how it can be done.
Wildfllower Good Living will be a night of good food, fun and education. Just like the short-lived beauty of blossoming annuals in the field, Wildflower is here today and gone tomorrow. But this experience is designed to keep on giving. Complementing the ever-growing trend of food trucks and pop-up restaurants, Wildflower is a culinary experience with a purpose. Tickets can be purchased here.
Menu: Amuse: Scalloped Mushrooms with Sea-Sciutto Mac & Yease Cesar Howell Salad Ayinde’s Jambalaya Gran Marnier Bananas Foster
Who’s ready? Ladies, let me hear you say “yeah!” I’m SO jealous. I went to the pop-up in NYC and it was SO good. SO SO SO good. For all you L.A. people, now’s your chance! I will pick a winner on Thursday morning—leave your comment before then!
You can also skip the contest and buy tickets online. Up to you! Or buy tickets online and then win two more and then have a big party! It’s ladies’ night! The feeling’s right!
Here ye, here ye! Every day this week, we will host a different giveaway for an awesome prize! Rules are the same as usual, just leave a comment on the giveaway post answering whatever genius question we’ve presented.* We will read the comments, pick winners and then email them when the giveaway closes. You could be a winner! Well, you’re all winners to us. But now you could be a winner with some dope free shit!
Spoiler alert: prizes include yummy fake meats, lovely vegan skincare products, and we’ve lined up something extra special for the rescue pooch in your life! So make sure you come back and enter every day. I’ll be posting today’s giveaway shortly. I’m so excited! Happy Giveaway Week!
*Update: sorry if this is unclear, this post is not giving anything away, it’s announcing there will be giveaways all week! When a giveaway post goes up, it will detail how to enter. But they will all be the same as usual—leave a comment answering the question in that specific post.
It’s Animal News You Can Use from Paul Shapiro! Yay, Paul! Yay, Animals!
Huge news this week: Big agribusiness lost another round in its continued assault on Prop 2, the ballot measure we waged four years ago in California to ban various factory farming practices. A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled in HSUS’s favor and threw out a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law.
Also big news is that meat consumption is in significant decline in the US. Here’s a new piece from me looking at the trend and the reasons behind it. And here’s a nice segment from the ABC San Francisco TV affiliate about HSUS helping a local school district implement Meatless Monday.
Speaking of big, my friend Big Bruce Friedrich has a good new essay about how the pork industry’s leadership is both anti-science and anti-animal.
To do this weekend: SF SPCA Homecoming Adoptathon!
We love the SF SPCA and we love adopted animals,* which makes this weekend’s Homecoming Adoptathon an ideal even for those of us—you, me, everyone else—without a companion animal to find one, already, and fill that hole our hearts we are currently stuffing artisan vegan cheese into with a furry creature who really will love us back. Fuck a human friend, what you want is an animal. Dogs don’t think you drink too much! Cats maybe are a little concerned with your “professional” wardrobe but they would never say so. And bunnies are never too tired to greet after another endless workday with a full minute of I-love-you hops.
The SF SPCA is ready to help you remedy that forever alone situation this weekend, with two days of adoptathon fun. On Friday, Sept. 14, get down with free booze and free adoptions, plus food from Voodoo Van, which appears to have one vegan option (though you’ll be in the Mission, legit snacks won’t be far off); adoptions are on from 1 to 8 p.m., reception from 5 to 9 p.m. Then on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., continue wooing the animal companion of your dreams with free adoptions, plus a foster care bake sale, and Q&A with a trainer. You know you have to train your dog if you adopt one, right? An untrained dog is an unhappy dog! Plus you can’t take it to the park to play with the other dogs if s/he never learned to socialize. The adoptathon continues on Sunday, Sept. 16, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with more free adoptions and more bake sale.
Are you ready for a furry best friend of your very own? Maybe a dog small enough to put in a large bag, who loves to catch (soft!) frisbees and curl up behind your knees for an afternoon nap? Or someone with big paws and jaws to wrestle with? Someone to call your “four-legged child” because you and your partner aren’t into human kids? The SF SPCA wants to make those dreams come true this weekend. So get over there and make yourself and a lonely animal happy.
The New York Times' International Herald Tribune did a little feature on Unstitched Utilities, a vegan shoe company that uses Tyvek to make sustainable, theoretically recyclable shoes. And they are kinda hot, you guys.
What I particularly love is that not only are Unstitched Utilities shoes totally vegan and eco-friendly, they are waterproof. This means you can pop out of the house in your cheery yellow slip-ons, get caught in a freak rainstorm, and still have happy, dry feet! Because as much as I love a rainboot, I don’t always want to commit to full-on wellingtons. These are casual and charming and just weird-looking enough. And the men’s shoes are absolutely great, vegan dudes.
Read more about Unstitched Utilities at their site. Wearing stylish, eco-friendly vegan shoes increases your sexual attractiveness by 20 percent, guaranteed.
East Bay vegans! Come out to the Berkeley Dish Crawl!
East Bay Ethiopian 5EVER. Will this be on the menu? Buy a ticket to find out, we have no idea.
Dishcrawl, the eating event for people who mean Serious Business about their food intake, is doing an all-vegan event in Berkeley next week! They’re keeping the restaurants secret, but tickets are $39, there are eight left, and do you have a better way to spend a weeknight than with a bunch of hungry East Bay vegans? Don’t even act like you’re popular; what you want to do is attend this Dishcrawl and make some friends on your side of the bay!
This Berkeley vegan Dishcrawl starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Contact the organizer, Sarah, with questions, and get ready to get down. Will it be all Ethiopian and Flacos and spicy legumes? Or maybe it’ll be a pizza-and-cinnamon-roll extravaganza! You know we love Berkeley and its many vegan options; the only question is how you will get home after devouring the neighborhood. Is there a special taxi for vegans too full of food to walk? Probably there should be.
Spoon-billed sandpiper, Russia, Bangladesh and Myanmar: 100 breeding pairs left
I had this conversation the other day about how, as a disgruntled, in-it-for-the-ethics vegan, it’s hard not to wonder if the world would be better off if whatever apocalyptic event happens and wipes out humanity; you know, end humanity, end humanity’s nonstop abuse of animals (among a million other things). Counterpoint: Hoping for the apocalypse is just another way of expressing depression; it’s our responsibility to not be jerks—not contributing to the exploitation of people/animals/the environment, being kind to other people, living well and appreciating how good we have it, and trying to help everyone have it better. Read all the books about the post-societal gangs of rapist cannibal murderers, while striving for utopia.
Coral tree, Namatimbili-Ngarama Forest, Tanzania: 50 individuals left
These 100 species are considered the most endangered not only because there are so terribly few of them left, but because “they have no obvious benefits for humans.” So cool! What do we even do about this? What does it matter if we cause the death of the greater bamboo lemur, or the Amsterdam albatross? They’re not curing our cancer or assembling our shoes or inventing personal electronic devices; fuck ‘em. We won the evolutionary race, we get to decide who lives and dies from now on. Right?
[photos, from top: ZSL/IUCN; Baz Scampion/ZSL/IUCN; ZSL/IUCN all via the Guardian]
Vegan success! Animal- and environment-friendly organizations win free ads on BART!
Look for this ad on your BART car!
Remember back in April when we asked you to vote for some worthy causes to win ad space on BART, via BART Blue Sky? Duh of course you do, you hang on our every word. Well, if you voted for our pals at the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition (formerly the Coalition to Fight Factory Farming), get ready to pat yourself on the back for a couple of clicks well-placed, because they won second place! And good old Earthjustice came in third! Hooray!
Our pal, FFAC President and founder Katie Cantrell, sent us previews of their onboard and station ads. They’re pretty friendly, right? Just, hey, it sucks to be an animal on a factory farm; ensure fewer of them suffer by observing Meatless Monday. Money quote from the FFAC press release:
We know BART riders are concerned about the environment, yet many people don’t realize that animal agribusiness is responsible for 18 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, more than the entire transportation sector. … If we really want to spare the air, we should all eat more plant-based meals. We can start by participating in Meatless Monday.
See this ad in BART stations!
These ads will run throughout September, so maybe look up from reading that thoroughly engrossing novel/Dlisted on your phone (I SEE YOU) (me) and check out the ads you voted for! Your eyeballs deserve to look at something besides that dour girl in a severe haircut and native California plants.
My next book will be a plant-based (vegan!) family cookbook. Yay! It’s meant for vegan and non-vegan alike! I intend to include all of the Jewish recipes I’ve veganized as well as all of our family’s standard beloved recipes.
I’m into this! I like Jewish food and Blossom was my jam. Remember her boyfriend? What was his name, Vinny? He was the hotness. And Six was so great in those Lifetime movies later in her career.
Here’s a sweet story. This couple, Melanie and Eddie, had their dream wedding all set to go when they found out their adopted pit bull Koda was sick. He had a liver shunt and needed expensive surgery to save his life. The couple, having been turned down by their pet insurance and with no other money draw from, spent their wedding fund to save Koda’s life. Here’s the best part:
Upon hearing what Melanie and Eddie did for Koda, the Halifax Humane Society felt they had to help. They approached local vendors and soon had a catering company provide food and a lovely receiption facility for the couple and their guests. Other vendors soon joined in to help, arranging for flowers, music and all of the other necessary arrangements to throw the couple their dream wedding on Saturday, September 8, 2012.
OMG don’t cry! How great is that? There’s got to be a screenplay in here, right? Or at least a series finale. Also: hello, nurses! I wonder if this couple is into threesomes. And how adorable is Koda? Ridic.
It’s Animal News You Can Use from Paul Shapiro! Yay, Paul! Yay, Animals!
The Wall Street Journal had an important article about the progress we’re making against the inhumane practice of tail-docking in the dairy industry. And as far as progress is concerned, hot dog giant Wienerschnitzel and Jack in the Box are the latest major pork buyers to announce its plans to phase out gestation crates.
The Toledo Blade had a piece entitled “More black Americans are giving up meat and dairy,” and the San Jose Mercury News ran a good story about HSUS’s work with the Pleasanton school district to implement Meatless Mondays.
Get crazy with smoothies for Nativas Natural's "Smoothment!" Plus: smoothie recipes!
On Saturday (that’s tomorrow!), Nativas Naturals is launching the Back-to-Basics Smoothment—a smoothie movement! From what I gather on social media, a bunch of you hippies are into this kind of “healthy milkshake” thing. You’re in luck—Nativas has got your back. Just head on over to the website, and sign on up! It’s all free of charge, and you’ll gain access to instructional videos, receive free recipes and even get discounts on featured raw, organic products. Just the incentive you needed to plug in that blender, isn’t it?
When it comes to smoothies, I like to think of my friend Caroline as the professional between the two of us. I prefer my blended drinks at a tiki bar, but Caroline actually drinks smoothies for breakfast. I thought that’s what coffee was for? Silly me, I have so much to learn! For all of our sakes (mine especially), I recruited Caroline as Vegansaurus’ own Miss Smoothment! Armed with products and a blessing sent to us from Navitas, Caroline agreed to share a couple of her own recipes with us, to kick off the occasion. Take it away, girlfriend!
“Anyone who follows me on Instagram is well aware that I’ve been obsessed with smoothies lately (I mean, why eat your food, when you can drink it?), so I wasn’t totally surprised when Jenny asked me to help review some of the Navitas superfood products.
You may have seen the colorful Navitas packaging in your local health food stores—I’ve definitely used some of them before (namely the chia seeds and cacao powder—great for raw desserts). Needless to say, I was STOKED when I had a whole box of their goodies to play with.
I usually start my day with a protein smoothie of some sort (using a vegan protein mix and my kitchen staple, the immersion blender), so I did what any excessive American girl would do — I mixed all the powders together for the mother of all breakfast smoothies. I wanted to see how this stood up to my “rigorous” morning workout (hello, I’ve got to be at my best when working out beside the retirees in the San Francisco Presidio Y). I also wanted to see how it compared to the more “performance”-oriented mixtures that I’ve been using. The verdict? I felt totally energized (as much as I can at 8 a.m.), and wasn’t hungry afterward. Not to mention, it was super delicious! (Bonus that all their products are organic—I’m not a fan of drinking chemicals and pesticides in my smoothies—raw, and gluten-free.)
Lately I’ve been having a smoothie for lunch—again, why go through the hassle of chewing your food? Below is the recipe for one of my favorite combinations. I added a few of the Navitas superfoods to the mix, and felt extra pumped. (My boss has a Vitamix, which I try to put to use as much as possible.)
Lunchtime smoothie, serves 2: 3 Tbsp raw Hemp Protein Powder 2 tsp raw Maca Powder 12 oz almond milk Handful of baby spinach (kale is good, too) 1/2 of an avocado Handful of raspberries Handful of strawberries 3 Tbsp organic peanut butter Handful of ice
I shared this with a friend of my boss and she said it was the best thing she had ever tasted. Not bad for a testimonial, eh? I totally agree—why else would I drink this almost every day?
Since I’m already armed with so many of Nativas amazing products, I have no choice but to participate in their Smoothment. I also can’t stand not joining things (only child syndrome). Perhaps you’ll give it a whirl, too (Get it? Bad smoothie puns!).”
As usual, please share your personal recipes with us! Don’t forget to follow my girl Caroline on Twitter and Instagram (@wakeupcaroline)—I can’t wait to see all the smoothie talk that will ensue, while wondering if rum is also a suitable ingredient in your icy beverages.
Guest Post: R&B superstar Usher is eating vegan! And he wants Justin Bieber to join him!
It’s always a big deal when someone famous comes out of the vegan closet. Us normal, everyday vegans celebrate it, and our omnivorous friends think, “Hey, maybe they aren’t so weird after all.” Maybe that last part isn’t always true but we all know we’re the LESS weird ones. And our count just went up by one, as Usher Raymond IV announced he is maintaining a vegan diet. My first thoughts? “Yeah!” [Ed. note: That’s the jam].
I have a sneaking suspicion that he and his 18-pack abs will still be gyrating under unzipped leather coats for the foreseeable future, but a small victory is a small victory. Usher saying he eats vegan has led to speculation that he’s getting his main man Justin Bieber to also gravitate to a plant-based diet, so he’ll have more energy fighting off 12-year-old girls in international airports. The Biebs going vegan will be huge for P.R. in the pro-vegan community, especially when accounting for the 8-to-14-year-old girl demographic. If I see a flock of Bielibers running toward a chrome Fisker in the parking lot of Native Foods Cafe, you bet your animal-loving ass I’m going to ask for a high five. I just better not have to wait any longer for my reuben.
There is more than handful of famous vegans. It’s tough to say who is in it for moral reasons and who just claims it as they get out of a Prius on the red carpet. Natalie Portman for example, isn’t all vegan all the time. But we beggars can’t be choosers, I guess. If veganism gets a little shine here and there from a celebrity trying to better their lives, who am I to complain? We got Billy Clinton to look as good as ever since his vegan transition. I was contemplating buying women’s underwear Wednesday night just so I could throw some at the TV. Lucky for the rest of us dudes, Usher can’t get any prettier. Right?
Let’s hope that Ursher’s selling skills are as good as his sit-up skills and we can mark down more artists in the famous-V column. He reportedly feels great and “loves” eating out at fancy New York city restaurants. Not the best-ringing endorsement to potential or on-the-fence vegans, since people of all diets can eat out in fancy New York restaurants. But we’ll take it! Hopefully Usher will make a Billboard chart-topping single where he serenades an unsuspecting woman on where he gets his protein. I’ll buy that record.
Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, Calif. He co-created and contributes to Rhode Island-based hip-hop website The Echo Chamber Blog under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.
Guest post: My top 10 vegan reasons to be in love with New York City, part two!
As I said yesterday, I just moved to California from New York City. It happened very suddenly, and as I’ve gotten more settled, I’ve found a much greater appreciation for how easy and wonderful it is to be a vegan in New York. I miss it, and I wanted to tell you all how much I love it. However, in an effort to spare you all from the longest post in the free world, I have managed to narrow it down to a top 10 list. Yesterday, Nos. 10-6. Today, the thrilling conclusion!
No. 5: Quintessence When I first got excited about raw food, I had a number of negative experiences with raw food restaurants. I was convinced that it was disgusting and I might never like it. Quintessence changed all that. By far one of my favorite vegan restaurants in the city, Quintessence makes incredibly yummy, indulgent, and healthful raw dishes that put all that other raw food to shame. A pearl in alphabet city’s clamshell, I fantasize about their Caesar salad on the regular. Oh Quintessence, I miss your tiny tables and huge salads.
No. 4: The Vegan Bodega Eric Hopf and his family are in the process of opening an all-vegan store in downtown Manhattan. Although it’s not open yet, I’m already in love with the products they’re providing and their dedication to the cause. They currently operate as a pop-up until their storefront becomes a reality. If you can, support these awesome people and their endeavors because this store is going to rock.
No. 3: Honey LaBronx Yes, it’s a bit ego-stroking to put my own podcast co-host on this list. Still, she is one bad bitch. This crazy activist is constantly spotted marching through crowds with a bullhorn, and waving her homemade protest signs in Christine Quinn’s face, and occasionally getting arrested. This queen fights for the animals, she’s exciting, and if it wasn’t for her, I never would’ve ended up in front of a microphone answering questions to new vegans. Check out her cooking show, our podcast, and go see her hot ass live. She is a freaking inspiration, and she looks good doing it. She’s also an okay friend, too, I guess.
No. 2: Soy and Sake Another of my favorite restaurants in NYC. Soy and Sake saved this sushi-lover from a life of fishless moping. They have most delicious vegan sushi rolls, as well as a plethora of dishes to die for (bourbon chicken! rock shrimp!). It is without question the one restaurant I will always visit in New York. It’s also killer for large parties, and I’ve seen countless omnivores be blown away by their food there. Go! Take friends! EAT SUSHI!
No. 1: Sweet & Sara Sweet & Sara is basically my favorite vegan company. Their origin story is beyond inspirational, founder Sara Sohn is one of the nicest people you could ever meet, and their products are amazing. AMAZING. The s’mores were one of the first treats I had that made me stop and say, “You know what? I should be vegan. This is awesome!” and I’ve continued to love them with a passion ever since. The last year I lived in NYC I was working in Queens off the 7 train, and I rode by the S&S factory every day, and every day I was reminded that being vegan is fun, delicious, and exactly what I want to be. I love that Sara and her little bunny, Skipper, too. I have half a mind to get a S&S tattoo. Too much? I’m doing it anyway.
Laura Yasinitsky is a writer, comic, waitress, and animal-lover based in California. She has appeared on Comedy Central’s Open-Mic Fight, and writes for US Weekly's Fashion Police. You can follow her silliness on Twitter @LaraYaz.
[photos: Empire State Pigeon by ZeroOne via Flickr; Quintessence raw pizza by Robyn Lee via Flick; vegan sushi from Soy and Sake; Sweet & Sara peanut butter s’more by Veganbaking.net via Flickr]
This week on Fresh Air, Terri Gross interviewed Thor Hanson, a conservation biologist and author of the newly published Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle. As part of his research, he plucked a dead wren to count its feathers. It had 1,500. A tiny wren, like the Australian white-winged fairy wren in the photo!
In the interview, which you can listen to on NPR, Hanson discusses the biological makeup of feathers, why he thinks birds evolved feathers, and how they adapted them to flight. The first feathered animals might’ve used them primarily for insulation, and now, every single individual flight feather is an airfoil, while being part of the airfoil that is the bird’s wing. Double-airfoil action for maximum flight!
Animals are amazing! So is science!
[white-winged fairy wren photo by David Cook Wildlife Photography, via Flickr]
New Vaute Couture coats are on sale! Order yours ASAP!
Our BFF Vaute Couture is going on fall tour! PLUS pre-order just started on new coats and they are 50 percent off for a few more hours! OMG THE EXCITEMENT! I got one last year and everyone says it’s smashing. [Ed. note: Everyone loves mine, too! —Meave]
The details are contained below:
Shop online now, or shop in person later! You can’t get fancier, better-made vegan fashions than Vaute Couture’s!
Guest post: My top 10 vegan reasons to be in love with New York City, part one!
For those of you who haven’t heard—and honestly, I don’t know how you couldn’t have, I have been tweeting about it like crazy—I have moved to California!
It happened very suddenly and I’ve been a whirlwind of a hot mess the last month. As I’ve gotten more settled I feel I have grown a true appreciation for how easy and wonderful it is to be a vegan in New York City. I miss it, and I wanted to tell you all how much I love it. However, in an effort to spare you all from the longest post in the free world, I have managed to narrow it down to a top 10 list. Please enjoy Nos. 10-6 today!
Cue the Letterman drumroll!
No. 10: Westerly Market I doubt I’ve ever left this place having spent less than $200 and I have never regretted it. Westerly Market is a magical place filled with all the hard to find vegan goodies as well as an incredible selection of organic produce, bulk dry goods, and frozen meatless wonders—what we all secretly wish Whole Foods actually were. Even while living in Brooklyn I would pack a backpack with Westerly groceries and haul it all the way home. The staff is also incredibly nice and they will order almost any product you are interested in them carrying. I love you, Westerly Market.
No. 9: The Cinnamon Snail This food truck tops the list of awesome things NYC has stolen from New Jersey. Incredibly yummy food, addicting baked goods, and the nicest crew ever, I found myself hunting down the Snail every chance I could and I downright stalked them in my final week as a New Yorker. Cinnamon Snail, I could not love you more. If you don’t follow these dudes on Twitter already, you best get to it. Life is empty without you, Cinnamon Snail!
No. 8: May Wah Thank dog May Wah ships nationwide (I would be inconsolable without access to its vegan pork buns), but there’s nothing quite as fun as shopping in this Chinatown gem and stocking up your freezer with the best of the best meatless meats. It’s cheap, the food is great, and on request the employees will quickly steer you away from any non-vegan products (although there are only a few). I love you, May Wah! I wish I could go buy some dried noodles and frozen faux shrimps right now! [Ed. note: 99 Ranch, Laura!]
No. 7: Vegan Shop-Up The Vegan Shop-Up rules. It’s an awesome pop-up market with only 100 percent vegan goods, from soap to brownies. This bi-monthly event is beyond fun, and a great way to stock up on hard-to-finds. It’s also how I discovered some of my favorite vendors, like Rescue Chocolate, Gone Pie, the Vegan Bodega, and Cake Bites. If you’re in NYC and you haven’t been to this yet, you are MISSING OUT! Get your butt there ASAP.
No. 6: The Vegan Guide to New York City This book does exactly what its title promises, and awesomely, its authors release an updated version every year. There is an iPhone app as well, but it’s from 2011 and they’ve yet to update it, so I’m on the fence about recommending the download. Might be better toget this year’s book. It’s still the flipping handiest thing in the world. Meeting someone in Midtown and you’re pretty sure there are no vegan restaurants in the area? Consult the guide! PROBLEM SOLVED.
Come back tomorrow for Laura’s top five vegan reasons to be in love with New York City!
Laura Yasinitsky is a writer, comic, waitress, and animal-lover based in California. She has appeared on Comedy Central’s Open-Mic Fight, and writes for US Weekly's Fashion Police. You can follow her silliness on Twitter @LaraYaz.
[photos: Empire State Pigeon by ZeroOne via Flickr; Cinnamon Snail by Megan Rascal for Vegansaurus; May Wah vegan meats by Shira Golding via Flickr]
McDonald's to open all-veg restaurants in India! Globalization party!
Veg combo from McDonald’s in Jaipur
Turns out McDonald’s, with is half-vegetarian menu in its Indian restaurants, isn’t “capturing the market” on the subcontinent as successfully as the great McDonald’s globalization overlords would like. How do you successfully sell your chemically delicious, primarily cow-based edible food-like items to a country where many citizens eschew cow-based foods, many others abstain from pig-based foods, and many others don’t eat animal flesh at all?
When the McAloo Tikki isn’t enough: the homemade vegan McAloo Tikki.
McDonald’s, in its infinite wisdom, has chosen to open an all-vegetarian restaurant in Amritsar, a Sikh holy city. When it opens “in the middle of next year,” it will be the world’s first meatless McDonald’s, to be followed by the second meatless McDonald’s in Katra Vaishno Devi, near the Hindu holy site of Vaishno Devi. There just aren’t enough Indian citizens eating at McDonald’s, see, and opening restaurants that serve food that conforms to most of the religious and cultural diets observed by Indian people will fix that, for sure.
No word on how much of the menu will be vegan, but we’ll take this. When a major international corporation chooses “less harmful” over “totally and completely harmful and cruel and awful,” we’ll take it. Abolition would be best, but abolition doesn’t sell. What does sell? Fried potatoes. Baby steps won’t help the animals being tortured and killed today, but it will prevent some from being tortured and murdered tomorrow.
Vegansaurus still hates McDonald’s on principle, and of course this move is completely profit-driven. Still, we appreciate them seeing the potential profits in meatless. Congratulations, India; enjoy your chemically delicious meatless menu.
Spencer’s Market looks like an awesome place to obtain new, gourmet vegan food products. When you set up an account, which only takes a few seconds, you can check a box that ensures you view only vegan products. You can also check other dietary needs, like gluten- or nut-free! Let’s eat some artisan vegan snacks and then brag about how fancy we are. Deal?
Rumor has it that there may be a new flavor of Nacheez out in the near future!
Mercy For Animals makes history! First-ever cruelty to animals FELONY conviction!
MFA made history last week, when Brian Douglas of Butterball factory farm pleaded guilty to felonly cruelty to animals on August 28th. It was the MFA undercover investigation at the farm in Hoke County, North Carolina that sparked what is believed to be the “first-ever felony cruelty to animals conviction related to birds used for food production in US history.” Douglas will serve 30 days in jail, followed by 42 months of probation, for the horrifying violence towards the butterball turkeys he executed. On August 31, Butterball employee Rueben Mendoza also pleaded guilty to felony identity theft and misdemenor cruelty to animals. He faces a “consolidated sentence of a minimum of 8 months, and a maximum of 19 months, in state prison”.
I can’t watch the undercover video at the Butterball Factory farm. But it’s up on MFA’s site if you can stomach it. To show my advocacy however, I like to sport my MFA “Not Cool” t-shirt around town. If you get one too, we’ll be twins! We can start a club! Maybe wear them to Vegan Drinks so we’ll know to schmooze with each other? If the merch doesn’t appeal to you, you can always donate to the cause as well! Man, I love Mercy for Animals, and the incredibly difficult work they do on the behalf of animal rights.
The little chick in the stomach is saying “Not Cool”. I love, love, love it!
Of course there always needs to be a naysayer, doesn’t there? Examiner.com plays that role well with this article which I think screams, THANKS A LOT CAPTAIN OBVIOUS AND BY THE WAY, MFA IS A VEGAN NON-PROFIT. Rachel touched upon all the same points, about the injustices that the workers must face on on these farms, back in Febuary. I think she covered this issue in a much more compassionate and well-informed (I’m not biased!) way. Thoughts? I noticed there’s nowhere to leave comments, but that might be a good thing considering the comments section usually makes me want to throw myself off a building sick.
ANYWAY. No more turkeys for holiday feasts, or sandwiches OR ANYTHING. Why eat an animal when we can have delicious vegan turkeys???? RAINBOWplease order more this season; I did not get one last year and it gave me a case of the sads. Actually no, because I made this delectable tart, but I want both this year!
When I tweeted about Figgy’s appreciation for his new vegan pig ears, a bunch of people responded. I understand why—it’s hard to find a good veggie chew! And I’ve read chewing is a natural habit for dogs that relieves boredom and stress, and can help clean their teeth. My Figaro doesn’t really care for chew toys nowadays—if he can’t eat it, he’s not interested. So I’ve done a fair amount of searching for the perfect edible vegan dog chew. I don’t know if I’ve found perfect, but I’ve found some good stuff. And it’s all Figgy approved!
Here are the pig ears you can see Figgy devouring in the top pictures. They are from Vegansaurus friend Vegan Essentials. Fig LOVES them. The only prob was one didn’t last that long. It lasted about ten minutes. That’s longer than it used to take him to eat those yam chews though. And like I said, he really liked it, so these will be a regular in the Figgy treat rotation.
This is a long-lasting option that is vegan, as far as I can tell: Paragon crocodile dog chews (there are hedgehogs too!). You can buy these at Figgy’s friend’s store Nip and Bones. The issue with these is that I don’t think they’re super flavorful but that may be why they last so long. It seems like Figgy likes to carry these around more than chew on them—but whatever keeps him happy! He even tries to take them with him on walks, so silly. And he does eventually work his way through them so it’s a nice little chew.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Sam’s Yams; well Fig is totally over those. They had a good run, but they only lasted him about five minutes anyway. But then I discovered these Sam’s Yams bones and Fig will actually condescend to eat these! I don’t know if the chamomile makes him calm but as chewing is a stress relieving activity, it must do something regardless.
Here’s a nice bone Figgy likes, the peanut butter Booda Bone. He’s not obsessed with these, but he enjoys them. I emailed the maker and they said both the peanut butter and mint bones are vegan. Fig likes the peanut butter ones.
This isn’t actually a chew but these deserve a mention. When I first got Fig from the PSPCA, he was a skinny-mini and liked any treat he saw. Now he’s a fatty and he’s so snobby about treats! He is totes over your dry biscuit variety; it’s all about moist, chewy treats. For that I recommend Paw’s Gourmet Chunky Chewies. Figaro loves these. They’re just made of peanut butter, molasses, and oats; so you could probably make them at home but bleh, I hate making stuff (though if you have a recipe you’ve tried and liked, send it and I’ll link it). If you are not opposed to honey, these little molasses bits from Paw’s Gourmet are a great size and also nice and soft. But the Chunky Chewies are honey-free.
Last but not least, don’t forget about a good old Kong toy filled with peanut butter. You can freeze it with the peanut butter inside to make it last a bit longer. You can find Kong just about everywhere. Again, not a chew; but this is good activity and sure to relieve boredom.
There you have it! To all those dogs who think chewiness is next to godliness, there’s sure to be something here for you.
It’s Animal News You Can Use from Paul Shapiro! Yay, Paul! Yay, Animals! Yay, Everyone! AND HAPPY LABOR DAY WEEKEND TO ALL!! (Except for the terrible, terrible meat industry, who can go to hell.)
Reuters had a good national story yesterday about HSUS’s new stock purchases of financial firms that invest heavily in the pork industry (as a means of making further progress on the gestation crate issue).
Speaking of gestation crate progress, since last week’s email, Subway, Campbell’s Soup and Harris Teeter all announced that they plan to eliminate gestation crates from their supply chains. (And Sodexo made a similar claim on laying hens.)
And speaking of progress, BBC had an interesting story about the increase in the number of folks reducing their meat consumption.
And finally, speaking of meat consumption, the head of the Meat Industry Hall of Fame (yes, it exists) had a surprising column placing the blame for the cruelty seen in Compassion Over Killing’s latest investigative videosquarely on the dairy industry. And while on the topic of investigative videos, this week we saw guilty pleas in Mercy For Animals’ cruelty case regarding abuse of Butterball turkeys.
The only downside, if you want to even call it a downside, to an all-vegan establishment is trying to persuade your omnivorous friends and family to join you. Most of the time, I’m able to join up with a group of co-workers or acquaintances after they consume some of our fallen furry friends or head out to a place that serves mostly liquid items. But the inevitable always rears it’s head, and the daunting task of appeasing many different morals takes precedence.
That’s where Ranchos Cocina in North Park comes in. They refer to themselves as a “Mexican and Vegetarian Cuisine” restaurant which is a tad too ambiguous for my liking, because I believe they are much more than that. The meat-eaters in your Donner Party will be happy with the amount of options available, as will the vegetarian and vegan homies. As soon as you and your squad sits down, someone is ready to hand you complementary chips and salsa. Which, if you have no self control like me, doubles as an appetizer. Their menu is recently refreshed and there are much more tiny, bold faced “V”s hanging around on the new menu. “V,” of course, denotes “may be made vegan.” Music to our hippie ears.
My first trip to Ranchos this past week, I was with two fellas of the non-vegan guild. They were able to order non-vegan things while I was able to order my favorite dish on the menu, Breakfast Combination no. 237, Soy Vegan Chorizo con Tofu. Their breakfast portion of the menu is available all day, because they know breakfast isn’t just for sopping up last night’s booze. This meal is a mountain of tofu scramble with soy chorizo and some assorted grilled veggies. Also a side of potatoes (or rice) and beans with your choice of tortilla. I go for the whole wheat tortilla because of it’s size—it unfolds to the size of manhole cover. I feel like I’m getting a bonus that the corn and flour folks are missing out on.
I digress. Their tofu is off the chains, as the kids used to say. Firm and seasoned, you can see bits of either thyme or pepper in the crumbled bits of Mexican-flavored vegan-ry. The soy chorizo is salty, but in that good way, not in the oops-I-dropped-the-Kosher-salt-into-the-pan way. The potatoes and beans give the plate of food that diner taste and feel. But the diner feel stops there, as the food doesn’t sit in your stomach for 15-minutes only to go into emergency mode. As vegans, at least for me, the “feel” after the meal is the best barometer of how “vegan” a restaurant actually is. Ranchos knows their vegan clientele and appreciates our views. It tastes and feels like real, home-cooked food.
I had to hit them up one more time before I trekked back up to the county of The Angels. This time I went right in as they opened in the morning with just me and my hangover tagging along. I’m not sure if it’s because single dining patrons only rack up bills worthy of tips in the $2-to-$4 range or if this man was genuine, but my waiter insisted on being extremely accommodating. I’m never one to base my restaurant visits on the service.
Again, I digress. He, the waiter, assumed of my vegan-ness by my asking for soy milk in my iced coffee and was quick to offer up his opinions on what was good. I was a mere half-a-second away from ordering the “Tofu con Soy Chorizo” again until he suggested the “Vegan Breakfast Burrito.” Which I was more-than-proud of heeding his advice for once the plate landed in front of me. This zeppelin-sized tortilla was easily the biggest burrito I’ve seen, and upon digesting it, the tastiest as well. The same seasoned, firm tofu is used in the breakfast burrito as in the scramble, in a flavor orgy with potatoes, assorted veggies and tempeh “sausage.” It was so big and filling, I couldn’t finish the 1/16th scale of the U.S.S. Enterprise in one sitting. So, if you’re keeping score, that’s chips and salsa, iced coffee (that was refilled thrice times), a ginormous burrito (that was used for two meals) for a whopping $9.16 before tip.
Now, math was never my strongest subject, but if you add everything up, I’m pretty sure Ranchos, Evolution Fast Food, and the many other unheralded San Diego vegan eateries are worthy of L.A.-sized exposure. I don’t want to pit San Diego against L.A., because that’s not a fair fight. Just don’t forget about S.D. It’s more than just a city with mediocre sports teams and a big zoo. So thanks, San Diego, we enjoy your second fiddle. Sometimes L.A. smells funny anyway.
Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, Calif. He co-created and contributes to Rhode Island-based hip-hop website The Echo Chamber Blog, under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.
Hella Vegan Eats pop-ups this Saturday in S.F. and also, help them start a food truck!
We love Hella Vegan Eats a lot. Like, tons and tons. All the love! And anyone who enjoys super delicious food feels the same way and that’s a fact! So, we’re psyched to see the menus for their pop-up brunch and dinner this Saturday at Dear Mom in the Mission! Hooray, let’s go:
As anyone with one or two eyes can see, these menus are filled with insanely delicious sounding food so you better bust your butt over there and eat it all! And also, donate to Hella Vegan Eats Indiegogo campaign because we so sososososoooo want them to be successful and serve us mean dean doughnut burger supremes forever! Seriously, if we don’t support this amazing ladies-owned vegan business and they don’t get off the ground then the republicans have already won and we should all just donate our brains and vaginas to science* because honey, trust me, you will not want them in this new scary world. Support them if you don’t want to face a United States that’s basically the set of the alternate present in Back to the Future 2. You know what I’m talking about! Marty’s mom is an alcoholic hooker married to Biff who is the president of the world and biker gangs shoot grandmas in the street and there’s no longer a sun and Crispin Glover is dead or becomes a club kid or something. Point is, that’s our future if we don’t support Hella Vegan Eats. Do it. To it.
World Water Week advocates a meat-free future, for humanity's survival
We’ve talked about the ridiculous amount of waterneeded to sustain our national (and increasingly international) meat-heavy diet, and by “meat-heavy” I mean “20 percent meat-based.” Well, the scientists in charge of World Water Week, happening right now in Stockholm, are now predicting that a meat-heavy diet is an “impossible alternative” to our continued existence.
If you want to read this year’s WWW report, which is really long but also very interesting, here’s a pdf. If you don’t, definitely read the Guardian's analysis (and the internet is full of analyses), which tells you things like “Animal protein-rich food consumes five to 10 times more water than a vegetarian diet. One third of the world’s arable land is used to grow crops to feed animals.”
My main question is, why not just advocate a vegan diet? Those dairy cows don’t spring from the foreheads of their mothers, fully formed and ready to make milk.
People hate a smug vegan because people hate smug. So maybe this isn’t a reason to be smug so much as a reason to worry. Will our rich, privileged peers* change their diets to support the future of the planet? I hate selling veganism with the “lose weight, feel great” line, but if that’s what it takes to get people to stop eating so much goddamn meat, then fine. Maybe we should start lying to people. “I used to be 1,000 pounds before going vegan!” “I had a vestigial skull attached to my neck from the twin I absorbed in the womb before going vegan!” “I was a horrible selfish jerk who was almost incapable of empathy, and it showed on my hideous face, before going vegan!”
Because there is no reason to eat animals. Science is on our side. And it’s just disgusting that, in the face of facts like these, people continue to do it.
[Photo: ILRI/Dorine Adhoch via World Water Week]
*By which I mean, people who aren’t starving to death.
Ask a Vegansaur: Vol. 07: Where can you get a vegan tattoo in the Bay Area?
Me, getting my boogie on, with a number of tattoos
This is a one-question post, but it’s one I mulled over quite a bit and polled a number of artists, so I hope it is helpful. DOWN TO BUSINESS:
Jacinda asks: Do you know any vegan-friendly tattoo artists in the Bay Area? I’m having a problem finding people. I search on Google and can’t find valid info for current people. All the ones I find are all old info. Any help you might have would be appreciated.
There is a TON of misinformation out there with regard to tattoos and veganism. I spoke to my artist (who happens to be a vegetarian) and several others to get a better feel on the situation. If you don’t agree that they are the experts in their field, I advise you to skip this entry. Here’s what I learned:
What makes an ink non-vegan is its binder, or carrier. Basic colors, such as most blacks (obviously not bone black, which uses bone char as the pigment), greens, reds, and so forth, are likelier to use no animal products. Less common colors—things like lavender, turquoise, chartreuse—might use binders and mixers that are not animal-friendly, just because that’s what’s keeping the color together.
Specificallyvegan inks are available, so if you really want to use them, find an artist you like, and ask if he or she can use them. However, it seems to be a common opinion among tattoo artists that these inks don’t hold up as well. Remember, this is something you are putting on your body permanently, so you’d ideally like it to last forever.
Here’s my advice for anyone seeking a tattoo anywhere: Find a pool of artists whose work you like (on the internet, through a friend, etc.) and bring them your idea(s). A knowledgeable artist will be able to tell you what is feasible and keeps within animal-friendly parameters.
I hope that helps. The internet has yet to reach a consensus on this subject. If you are or know of a tattoo artist who specifically caters to vegans, now is the time to share.
Want to Ask a Vegansaur a question? Email me, and try not to be a jerk!
Growing up in Rhode Island for the better part of my existence, I’ve grown accustomed to having my local habitat being played as the second fiddle. The music and art industries, whether through concerts, shows, or just the available exposure itself to these, seemed to skip the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (yes, that’s our real, full name) altogether. Everyone assumed this was do to our close proximity to Boston and New York and no one from Lil’ Rhody (yes, that is our real “nickname”) wants to drive to New York or Boston because they’re “wicked fah!” San Diego, I find, kind of sees similar persecution. America’s Finest City is well-populated, and has its own vibe with plenty of culture. But we in the vegan community never seem to hear much about what St. Diego has to offer by way of animal-free food consumption—instead, we in SoCal hear much ado about L.A. More people, mainly us compassionate ones, should know of the mini-vegan food Mecca that is in San Diego.
San Diego was supposed to get the mother of all vegan restaurant chains, Native Foods Cafe, but that either fell through, is still being constructed, or Monsanto stepped in and bought the property. Having a world-renowned chain like Native in The 619 (or The 858 or The 760) would have been huge. Both for me and my friends who live there but also for the San Diego vegan community. However, there are equally as tasty treats deep within the cozy confines of the city. If fast food-themed is your bag, similar to Native Foods, there is Evolution Fast Food. E.F.F. is a must-see for me each and every time I’m in S.D. I have a “go-to” choice and “back-up” ready to order. A back-up is sometimes needed because they tend to sell out of their daily “specials.” Which leads me to believe they have a good sized customer base ready and willing to try new things. During my most recent visit just this past week, they had a new special available of which just the description alone made me weak in the knees and caused cold sweats. It was like I was back in high school when my man parts would do what they wished, when they wished. Male-hormonal rages aside, this is what the board read:
And all these fine basic descriptors were supposedly wrapped up in a whole wheat tortilla. I say supposedly because that Bad Larry was sold out. Bummer. Upon learning the bad news I was back in flashback mode, this time elementary school when I learned Santa Claus didn’t actually check his list twice. Luckily, my standby order is impeccable and cured my sadness post haste. I’ve been a burger-and-fries type of guy since long before my vegan days. And the Bacon Cheeseburger at E.F.F. fits the bill to a T. They’ve recently started using Gardein for their patties on all their burgers, but if processed mock meats aren’t your thing, they also have a house-made bean patty option. I’m a fan of Gardein, so I recommend the O.G. version. The bean patty is too… beany.
Options are always awesome as a consumer, especially when you’re a vegan consumer when you’re about to consume vegan goods. It’s like little bits of Christmas morning each time someone behind the counter asks you a closed ended question regarding your order. In addition to the bean patty or Gardein patty, you can also choose between standard fries or the sweet potato version. I’m excessively sweet as it is, so I always opt for the regular spuds. I’m kidding. Sort of.
Evolution Fast Food isn’t really known in my circle of non-vegan compadres in San Diego. Most think it’s still called one of their previous names and others assume all they serve is wheat grass shots and tofu slabs. It’s a brilliant take on the prototypical fast food menu, just vegan’d out. But they also do soft serve ice cream, smoothies and desserts. Best of all, the entire restaurant is 100% vegan. So you’ll never have to worry about cross contamination or wondering if a bun or slice of bread is also fitting to your compassionate ways. There is also a “drive-thru” window, perfect if you’re feeling nostalgic and want to re-live the times the whole family went down to those golden arches. As far as convenience however, you’re better off parking and walking up.
Stay tuned for San Diego Part 2: Ranchos Cocina!
Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, California. He co-created and contributes to a Rhode Island based Hip-Hop website, The Echo Chamber Blog, under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.
As I announced on Twitter last night, look what I came upon at Union Market last night! Basilcotta: Regal Vegan’s basil cashew ricotta-style spread. You know I’m obsessed with their Faux Gras so I had to buy this immediately.
My official verdict: very yummy! It’s not as amazing and addictive as the Faux Gras, but really, what is? “Basilcotta” is pretty much the perfect name—that’s what it tastes like: ricotta mixed with basil. I just ate it on bread and it was creamy and good. I would love to have it in some pasta shells! I will try to get it together to do that and let you know how it turns out. Maybe I can mail some to Jenny and make her do it for us!
It’s not on their site yet but hopefully it will be soon and then hopefully you’ll be able to order it like you can the Faux Gras. Does anyone on the west coast carry Regal Vegan? They need to!
Clockwise from the left: Vanilla Chai, Sesame Crunch, and Sweet and Spicy Chipotle.
Hello, friends! Here I am with another product review! This time we have some healthy snack food: Nutty Bean Chick Pz. These are flavored roasted chickpeas. All flavors but the Honey Roasted are vegan. I tried the Chai Vanilla, Sesame Crunch, Sea Salt, and the Sweet and Spicy Chipotle (for those following along at home, that’s all but the Honey Roasted and BBQ). Nutty Bean sent me these flavors to try for free and now I will tell you all about them.
I’ve actually seen roasted chickpeas before; I used to go to the Italian festival in New Jersey every year (which I highly recommend—except for the cannoli eating contest; whatever you do, don’t watch the cannoli eating contest! You will vom!) and they had them in big burlap sacks. Haven’t seen them since then. I always thought it was a good idea though, seems like a healthy snack idea.
So, in brief: they are a bit weird…AND I love them. The weird part is the texture. They are crunchy at first—kind of like wasabi peas or something—but then when you bite into them, they have a kind of dusty texture? I think dusty is the best description. But I think you get used to it and then you can enjoy them with reckless abandon!
The really cool thing is that these are super healthy. If they were bad for you and had the unfamiliar texture, I might not be into them. But I think the health factor makes it a good gamble. There are two servings per package (a good size!) and each serving has 4 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein and only 1.5 grams of fat. It also has 10% of your daily iron, so that’s nice. And a little shot of calcium to boot.
My favorite-favorite flavor is the Sweet and Spicy Chipotle. Yummy! It rules. I’m kind of a nancy about spice so these are a little too hot for me. My solution was to eat like four, then eat a handful of sea salt ones to relieve the spice. Funny Megan! But it worked great.
I didn’t like the Sesame Crunch that much; I think you would definitely like that flavor if you like those little sesame sticks they always sell in bulk candy sections. You know the ones? My mom used to buy those for us when we were hippies. I was never that into them. But if you were, this is your flavor.
As for the Vanilla Chai, I thought I wouldn’t like them because sometimes chai is über-sweet. But to my surprise, this was my second favorite flavor! Not too sweet but nice and cinnamon-clovey. Definitely yum and a nice sweet treat that’s not too sweet.
That’s the other good thing besides the health: these hit the spot. If you want a little touch of sweetness, you got it; if you want something salty, boom. And you can feel like you are doing something good for your body because of the iron, fiber, and protein! So it’s really a great snack option. I officially recommend!