Vegan Valentine’s Day in LA »
It’s almost Valentine’s Day (didn’t you see the decorations for sale at drug stores during Christmas?!?), and regardless of your feelings about it (insert diatribe about eternal loneliness here), we can all agree that we love special menus at our favorite vegan spots in LA!
Get fancy at Crossroads with all their vegan Valentine’s glory! They’ll be serving a five-course meal, which will include Italian wedding soup, artichoke ravioli, and RED VELVET CAKE (RED VELVET CAKE!!!)! There will be gluten-free options and the set price includes a glass of champagne. $75 per guest. Reservations: http://crossroadskitchen.com/
Real Food Daily will be keeping the Italian spirit of the holiday with a mostly gluten-free menu. How will you choose between the Calabrese Stuffed Pepper or Lasagna Napoletana as your entree?? Or the Tiramisu Bombe versus the Creme Brulee?? (My advice? ORDER EVERYTHING.) $68 per person. Reservations: http://www.realfood.com/
One of my fave little spots, Flore, will have beet borscht (is that redundant?), a spinach fettucini (isn’t that what "Mouth" was ordering in Goonies!?!), and their classic chocolate/vanilla strawberry cake for $24 per person. No reservation necessary.
Healthy Junk in Anaheim will have TWO types of lasagna (white wine sauce vs marinara), GRILLED ARTICHOKES with aioli, and chocolate cake. $25 per person. Call to make a reservation: (714) 772-JUNK.
Irregardless (which, yes, is a real word now), binge on enough sugary vegan treats that Wilford Brimley will come dancing at your door*.
Happy VD, Vegansaurs!
Those better be Go Max Foods candies, Bigfoot!
*Diabetes is not really funny, ya’ll, but I can’t resist a joke that involves a bad YouTube dance mix.
Cookbook Review: Comfortably Yum by Allison Rivers Samson »
I recently had to opportunity to test a few recipes from Allison Rivers Samson —she of VegNews' amazing “Veganize It!” column and owner of the delectable online confectionary Allison’s Gourmet! — new e-cookbook, Comfortably Yum, and trust me when I say: Lady knows how to create a recipe. From an INSANE mac and cheese to a mind-blowing Clam Chowder, I ate it all and then I ate it again. I also took some pretty horrible photos, because WHAT I AM NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER I AM AN EATER, but voila. Allison’s clam chowder via Allison herself:
A lot of love and care went into this cookbook. The recipes were tested numerous times and as Allison says, she’s done the culling for you. This is not a cookbook where you’ll make two recipes and then put it on your shelf and never use it again. This is a cookbook where you’ll make every recipe and add your favorites to your current rotation. They’re a delight for long time vegans and newbies to the art form. (And trust me, when you see how she spins a magic ingredient into mac and cheese, you will acknowledge that this is, indeed, an art form!) I’ve been cooking out of it all week, and I don’t intend to stop anytime soon. Maybe when I’m dead. MAYBE. I’ll probably come back as a ghost to devour all your Chocolate Salted-Caramel Pudding Parfaits. Some shit is worth haunting for.
So yeah, if you’re looking to reinvent your mac and cheese or try your hand at making a simple yet tasty MELTABLE (!!!) vegan cheese, this is the e-cookbook for you! And, um, invite me over? (Please note: You might* have to pay for my plane ticket to your house but just know, I’m mediocre company and I don’t do the dishes!) (First class only.)
Oh, and $3 from each copy will be donated to the fabulous rescued farm animal sanctuary Animal Place, so you can feel good about stuffing your face with deliciousness.
I’m very interested in this Perfect Circle Kitchen blog. The subhead on the blog header is, “Vegan, vegetarian, and meat-inclusive meals, hold the fuss.” Have you ever heard of such a thing?! I was totally curious about a “meat-inclusive” vegan blog so I had a little email convo with blog’s creator, Eve Perlman.
So the base of all the recipes is vegan, but then at the very end there are suggestions for adding meat or dairy. I found this totally weird but then my friend Lizzy was like, that’s totes subversive! I mean normally it’s the vegan stuff that gets the footnote! Right? And if you have meat suggestions, maybe you will attract more meat eaters to recipes that are primarily vegan. They will see all this vegan food and be like OMFG that food looks good! Or at least they will get more used to it. I mean I doubt many meat eaters frequent vegan recipe sites; but if there’s a “meat-inclusive” option, maybe it can actually draw them in. AND THEN WE POUNCE!
That’s pretty much what Eve says the concept behind the blog is. Well there’s mostly two reasons; one is to help people transition to vegan cooking. The other is to help people figure out what to cook when there’s a vegan in the midst of meat-eaters or vice versa.
It all started when her friend asked advice on what to make for dinner when her meat-and-potatoes husband, vegetarian son, and vegan daughter-in-law were all going to be dining. She sent a recipe that could accommodate all of the different wants. After that, she “continued to write recipes for friends whose vegan children were coming home on a break from college, people who wanted to make a lifetime transition to a more plant-based diet, or dinner hosts who needed to accommodate everyone at their table.” And eventually, BAM! Perfect Circle Kitchen!
What do you guys think? Could this strategy help convert people? It’s definitely a new approach, at least to me, and I’m all for new approaches.
Victoria’s Kitchen Almond Water: Get into it! »
As someone who doesn’t drink booze, I take my non-alcoholic beverages VERY seriously. I was excited to try Victoria’s Kitchen almond water (aka “almondade”) and, you guys, it did not disappoint! As a wise man once said, “It tastes so good when it hits your lips!”
Have no fear, lovers of cocktails, these exquisite elixirs would make PERFECT mixers. In fact, there are recipes on their website!
How cute is it that David, the founder of Victoria’s Kitchen, was inspired by his grandmother’s traditional and artisanal recipe (guess what her name was???) in the south of France. Ooh la la! This ain’t your granny’s sweet tea (well, unless, perhaps, your granny is from the south of France).
As a huge fan of vanilla, I LOVED the “original” flavor, which is vanilla and rose. I had to resist my urge to chug the whole bottle in one fell swoop!
The “mint & licorice” had a subtle hint of both (not mouthwash-y at all). I’ll DEFINITELY being trying their recipe for the mocktail, Virgin Mojito.
Lastly, and MOST DELICIOUSLY (IMHO), was the “coconut” flavor (which got me singing this song—try not to get it stuck in your head now #sorrynotsorry).
I was wondering where I’d be able to stock up, and noticed they sell it a half-mile from my house at Locali (which deserves its own post). Their website says it’s available in over 1000 locations, mostly on the West Coast (hello, do you need any more reasons to come to sunny CA?!). Almondade is my new fave!
There is something very wrong with the entire national system if, in 2014, a country’s lower-income citizens can only afford McDonald’s burgers, and never vegetables. In the same way that clean water and education are basic rights, so should daily access to healthy, fresh food be a top priority of governments. Children in particular deserve no less.
But this would require a revamp of the entire food production system, including re-allotments of the subsidies that make it possible for a burger to sell for $1. We take that price tag for granted, and yet one pound of beef requires far more infrastructure, maintenance, feed, and water to produce than one pound of potatoes. This cheap, meat-centric, fast food diet is enabled by what meat and corn industry lobbyists are allowed to accomplish.
From the post Vegetables are not “Elitist” by Katherine Martinko. A must-read from Treehugger! It rules! I still can’t believe how unaware people are about food prices and government subsidies. Meat is cheap because of the ridiculously imbalanced agriculture subsidies in the United States.
Exclusive Interview: Meet the Dads of Esther the Wonder Pig! »
Thanks to her dads Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter, tens of thousands of fans (us included!) get to peek into the surprising and always adorable daily doings of Esther The Wonder Pig, the clever, undeniably photogenic 400-pound pig! It’s truly a delight each day to browse Steve and Derek’s witty status updates and glamorous pics of Esther living her genius, safe, and cozy life in Toronto with her loving dads and dog siblings!
Vegansaurus’ Sarah E. Brown interviewed Esther’s loving dads about life with Esther, how she came into their lives, and their future plans to continue spreading awareness about pigs as pets, not food.
Vegansaurus: What surprised you most about adopting Esther when she was a “mini-pig”?
Steve & Derek: How much attention she needed. It was like having a child running around the house. We couldn’t let her out of our sight or she would get into everything!
V: How did you two meet? How long have you been together? How long into your relationship did Esther come into the picture?
S&D: We’ve been together for over 13 years now. Steve is a realtor, Derek is a professional magician. We met as teenagers working at a restaurant. Esther didn’t come along until about 12 years in.
V: On social media, we all get to see the amazing images of Esther in her full glory—we also get to see her sassy personality. How did you decide to start documenting her presence in your life through social media and your website? And who posts most of the updates?
V: How did you decide to name her Esther?
S&D: We just wanted a fun and “comfortable” name. For whatever reason, Esther seemed like a very traditional, human name and it just clicked. There wasn’t really any sort if inspiration in particular, it just worked.
V: You’ve recently gotten a lot of press, and over 76,000 followers on Facebook (congrats!). In your recent Mercy For Animals (MFA) interview, you talked about how people have reached out to you. What’s the coolest connection you’ve made so far since adopting Esther and telling your story?
S&D: That’s really hard to answer. We’ve heard from some incredible people. Some that still make our heads spin to be honest. We got to do an interview with Sam Simon, and we’ve been on Ellen’s good news blog. Friends at Mercy for animals and PETA have shared about us. There have been some amazing people that run blogs of their own, and have become good friends already. We even have some celebrity followers on Twitter. It’s really crazy.
V: Besides apples, what are Esther’s favorite foods?
S&D: She loves pretty much any fruit or candy. They’re just like humans so if it’s a treat for us, it’s a treat to her.
V: Do you recommend adopting a pig? What is your advice to someone thinking of adopting a pig in an urban setting?
S&D: Be super careful. They are a ton of work and will require some major life adjustments. We had to pig proof our house, learn how to manage and train her and it’s way different than a dog. Pigs are so smart! Esther can open doors, cupboards, and even our fridge. We had to re-evaluate where we keep everything! It was a huge learning curve. We wouldn’t really advise it only because if the work it took. She’s awesome now but caused many a soul searching conversations. It was tough. We wouldn’t trade her for the world but it definitely wasn’t easy. Our advice is do plenty of research and make sure you’re up for the challenge. If you do decide you’re up for it, know it is the most incredible and rewarding experience of our lives. She really opened our eyes and as far as we’re concerned, made us better people. We love her like you wouldn’t believe.
V: Are there any resources that helped you when you first went vegan or first adopted Esther (i.e. pig care tips, etc.) that you’d like to share?
S&D: We found it really hard to get information and hope to change that. We learned on our own as we went along, taking the odd note from websites or our vet. That was the hardest part: How the hell do you teach a pig?
V: Do you have any future plans you’d like to share with our readers?
S&D: We do want to start a sanctuary and will start fundraising very soon. We’ll be opening the Esther store on our website
Thanks so much, Esther’s Dads, Derek and Steve! And thanks to Esther for being so, well, wonderful!All images included with permission by and courtesy of Derek and Steve and Esther the Wonder Pig.
DEAR. LORD. IN. HEAVEN. ABOVE. I don’t believe in much, but I believe in these spring rolls. I want to eat them until that my DNA is made entirely of mint and bean sprouts.
tofu quinoa fresh rolls with easy peanut sauce / recipe
Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! »
Some pork industry leaders are calling the move away from gestation crates “a race to the bottom.” My admittedly blunt response is on Huffington Post. Just this week, in fact, Wendy’s announced more progress against gestation crates…
I was honored this past week to be on CNN Headline News discussing the slaughter plant shutdown caused by HSUS’s latest investigation.
The attorney general of Missouri is trying to curry favor with big agribusiness by filing a lawsuit against California for its law requiring that eggs sold in the state come from birds who could spread their wings. The Kansas City Star slammed him in a lead editorial yesterday. And speaking of that law, our friends at Bon Appetit Management Co. have a good new piece urging egg producers to come into cage-free compliance.
Politico ran a profile on Bill Gates this week, noting that the billionaire “has sharply criticized the powerful livestock industry as he talks up his vision for solving world hunger by promoting vegetarian diets.”
Gates would probably be psyched to know that HSUS is teaming up with teen celeb Laura Marano to promote Meatless Mondays to students, including doing an event with us for kids in LA this week!
Hey Sochi! Dogs are NOT ‘biological trash’ »
As you’ve probably heard, the city of Sochi is doing a mass cull of its stray dog population in order to “clean up” for the Olympics. They’ve hired a private company to kill “as many dogs as possible,” according the ABC News. This dog-killing company has quite the charming owner, telling ABC News, “Let’s call things by their real name. These dogs are biological trash.” How do you say, “screw you, d-bag” in Russian?
It’s not like these dogs are homeless because they can’t make the student loan payments from their poetry MFA. They live on the streets because of human negligence and irresponsibility. It’s not their fault, and killing them is just solving a wrong with another wrong.
Thankfully, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Dogs of the world have taken to social media with the hashtag #sochidogs to tell Sochi that dogs are not biological trash! Check out the wonderful meme they’ve created in protest, as modeled by my lovely co-worker Nicole’s dog Charlie (#sircharleswaggybottom).
So I want everyone to take a pic like this with their dog! You can upload them to FB with the #sochidogs hashtag but also, please please please post the pics in the comments on this post! I want to see them! Vegansaur dogs unite!
If you want to learn more about how you can help, my new favorite site The Dodo has a good post on stuff you can do.
Breaking news: animal testing may soon be required by law in the US! »
Last night, Tashina Combs posted a devastating piece on Logical Harmony about the possible state of animal testing on beauty products in the United States. The thought of more unnecessary animal testing, of it being required by law on all personal care products, is heartbreaking. The eloquent breakdown of the difficult-to-decipher wording that Logical Harmony provides of The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act is extraordinary; again, please check out the blog post here. Tashina also provides tips for what we can do to make our voices heard on this very important issue. She points out that not only will animals be harmed, but also the small vegan businesses that strive so hard to bring us cruelty-free beauty and body products!
No animal testing or ingredients on this counter! Wait, is Tom’s of Maine iffy? Do we use Tom’s of Maine?
Please, please, please check out Logical Harmony’s post on the subject. There is no way I could do her article justice by trying to summarize it, so I’m not going to. However, let’s read it, share it, and make ourselves heard! NO to increasing animal testing in the United States! No no no!