Ubuntu’s Braised and Raw Black Kale Salad recipe!  »

Ubuntu's chef Aaron London has a side dish for us for Thanksgiving! IT’S EXCLUSIVE (I think, maybe not) and DELICIOUS (this is for sure a fact) and something we can all make and serve to our family so they don’t die from butter and lard consumption on the big day. Happy holidays!

4 bunches of kale, pulled from stem and washed
2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
3 lemons
3 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ cup extra Virgin Olive Oil
cup golden raisins
cup cooking sherry
½ cup pine nuts, toasted at 325 F for 10 to 12 minutes
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
Vegan parmesan cheese substitute, i.e. Parma
Salt and pepper to taste

Sweat the onions over low heat in a heavy bottomed pot in ¼ cup olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic and chili flake and continue to cook while stirring until the raw garlic smell is gone.

Add three bunches of kale to the pot and stir until well coated with the oil and onion mixture. Add in ½ cup water and place a tight-fitting lid on the pot. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for approximately one hour, until the kale is braised and very tender.

Place the raisins in a small pot with the sherry, and cook on low heat, while stirring, until the raisins are plumped and tender. Then place them in a bowl and add the balsamic, pine nuts, zest and juice of 1 lemon, ¼ cup olive oil, and reserve.

Use a sharp knife to slice your remaining kale into thin ribbons, and toss this with the juice and zest of two lemons. Hold this in the refrigerator for up to 20 minutes.

Once your kale is braised, and the other steps are done, run a knife a few times through the braised kale; you don’t want to chop it too much, just get it into more manageable-sized pieces.

Lay the braised kale out on either a large platter, or individual dishes, and drizzle with some of your pine nut vinaigrette, then top with the raw kale and the remaining vinaigrette. Finally, top the dish with as much vegan parmesan-substitute as you like.

    Serves six. This dish can be eaten as is, and is also very nice served over red quinoa.

    Here is what it could maybe look like, even though it’s an entirely different recipe:


    Ubuntu in Napa revisited AGAIN  »

    Quick recap: Ubuntu is this fancy-fancy vegetarian vegetables restaurant in Napa that I have a tumultuous relationship with. However, I recently returned and had probably the best meal of my life—they tried to knock me out with flavor flav and almost succeeded! The meal was UNSANE and you can read all about it at SF Weekly! Oh, and you can look at my fairly crappy pictures here and ALSO, I posted some below. Bam!

    This is my current amateur opinion on the state of Ubuntu: You just gotta go balls-out, throw caution (read: your wallet) to the wind and order at least the prix fixe menu, preferably the chef’s tasting menu, which can be done vegan in a way that doesn’t sacrifice the dishes at all. You can’t go to Ubuntu hoping to piece a meal together from the a la carte menu, you gotta GO BIG OR GO HOME (hungry). Being in the SF Bay Area, we’re super lucky to live so close to a restaurant where vegans can really do it up, and eat a meal that rivals those available in the best restaurants in the world.* Anyway, if you don’t have a sugar daddy or a trust fund, you best get one and fast. Also, if you are either a sugar daddy or a trust fund, let’s get it on! I am willing to completely bankrupt myself in every way for another taste of that sweet sweet Ubuntu lovin’. 



    *I mean, I guess, I don’t even know if the food in those restaurants is that great. I’ve eaten in some of them as an omnivore and enjoyed the meals less than I did an order of veggie chow fun from Golden Era or the tamales at Gracias Madre but I’m no foodie asshole expert.


    Ubuntu revisited  »

    I loved Ubuntu. Despite its ridiculous name and the fact that it’s also a YOGA STUDIO, it was one of my favorite restaurants. If I’m not making fun of a restaurant for also being a YOGA STUDIO then I’m either A) dead or B) eating at Ubuntu. I loved, loved, loved it. I was so psyched about this Yogaraunt that I’d take diehard omnis to show them how great “vegetable cuisine” is. And uh, I did just that on Saturday night. What a fucking disappointment. You better hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband cause Ubuntu is raping everybody out here!

    First off, the entire menu has changed. Gone are the chickpea fries, the pizzas, the amazing signature salads. They’ve been replaced with a dry salad (seriously, no dressing), $17 plates of four small potatoes covered in cucumber ash (see pic above: those aren’t giant turds, they’re a signature dish at New Ubuntu), and a soup that was basically vinegar poured over three melon balls (just like when Yoko Ono orders a single plum floating in perfume served in a man’s hat on The Simpsons! But less funny because THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING). It’s like the whole restaurant has gone anorexic on us. I am not even playing, it was straight fucked. I was so embarrassed. The omnis were like WTF IS THIS VEGAN GARBAGE and I was like WTF IS THIS VEGAN GARBAGE and the whole scene was just humiliating. I get it, Jeremy Fox has left for meatier pastures and the new chef wants to make the menu his own and I’m ALL for that, but why take away heartier fare and replace it with less food for more money? I’m sorry, when I’m paying $50 a person (without wine!) to eat at your restaurant, I don’t want the most filling item to be the free bread. We ate so much bread that they had to dedicate an oven to baking exclusively for my table. AND WE WERE STILL HUNGRY. Honestly, I wanted to head down the street to Billco’s Billiards & Darts for some french fries and a veggie dog.

    I am all for new chefs and new visions, and I’d be fine with an entirely new menu that doesn’t have my favorite strawberry pizza or my beloved cucumber watermelon basil soup but dammit, make the replacements stellar and hearty, or lower your prices. You can’t have it both ways because you’re gonna lose customers. After (constructively?) talking trash on Ubuntu to several groups of friends, I found out that they too had had shitty dining experiences there recently and felt equally bummed and pissed. I dunno, I am loathe to run my mouth on a vegetarian restaurant, but I had to say something because it’s festering inside of me, eating my food-loving soul, and no amount of namastes can help. Run an’ tell that, homeboy.




    JSF mania, regal vegan dining, tons of recipes, horrible tragedy and more in this week’s (bipolar) link-o-rama!  »

    TODAY! That’s Friday, Nov. 6: Jonathan Safran Foer is having a book signing at UC Berkeley at 7 p.m. in the Multicultural Center! Woo!!

    On Sunday, Nov. 8 at noon King of Ughs David Chang and Ubuntu’s vegetarian betrayer Jeremy Fox will appear in conversation with each other at Omnivore Books (3885 Cesar Chavez St. at Church Street). New York Times columnist (and co-author of His Majesty of Shut Up, David Chang’s new book) Peter Meehan will moderate.

    JSF makes a modern Modest Proposal to omnivores: how about some delicious dog? One of your Vegansaurs’ first solid foods was dog soup. This was not a major factor in his/her decision to go vegan (GUESS WHOSE), as it only happened once, during toddlerhood; the point is, duh, all meat is equally reprehensible.

    This one time, in August, Emperor David Chang of Saying Idiotic Things made a vegetarian meal, at the behest of the James Beard Foundation. Color Vegansaurus unimpressed; we’ve had at least as fancy at Brassica.

    Miss Vegan Drinks? Of course you do! Thank goodness for the East Bay, who’ve been doing their thing on non-holiday Tuesdays and want to see you at their next meeting! Mix and mingle on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Kona Club, at 4401 Piedmont Ave. at Pleasant Valley Avenue in Oakland! Details here.

    Hey, Science: “Because such monkey torture will not lead to improved human health, you don’t need to be an animal rights advocate to wonder if an ethical cost-benefit analysis might conclude that the ends don’t justify the means.”

    Nicolette Hahn Niman doesn’t want you to blame her ranch for the environmental problems caused by raising animals for food; after all, she says, “Singling out meat is misleading and unhelpful, especially since few people are likely to entirely abandon animal-based foods.” And anyway, ”avoiding soy from deforested croplands may be more difficult…. Brazilian soy is common (and unlabeled) in tofu and soymilk sold in American supermarkets,” so shut up and eat your Bill-Niman-de-and-renounced “happy” beef, already. JESUS LADY.

    Adult Dungeness crabs are few and far between for the second consecutive year, but that won’t stop most fishermen from going out to catch as many as they (legally) can. Fishing in a “down” season makes perfect sense, hooray people.

    CHOW honors local hero Bryant Terry and Queen of Vegetables Deborah Madison in its first annual awards, the CHOW 13. Too bad they have to tell us how much they looooove Ryan “literally all of the pig” Farr as well, boo.

    Congratulations to friend-of-Vegansaurus Celine of Have Cake, Will Travel: her very first cookbook is out today!

    For reasons as yet unknown, all the female spectacled bears in the Leipzig (Germany) Zoo have lost nearly all of their hair. They look incredibly pathetic without their usual “fluffy dark brown” fur coats.

    Oh delicious, sumptuous, vegan cuisine literally good enough for the Queen: a luncheon at Windsor Castle, part of a “Celebration of Faiths and the Environment,” satisfied all the participants’ dietary requirements by eliminating all animal products from the menu! An “autumnal roasted pear salad” with “deeply savory…toasted [Kentish] cobnuts”? Yes, please!

    Yobie Benjamin analyzes the most recent reviews of and data on San Francisco’s public school lunches, and determines that, duh, it can be done better, for cheaper. The notable part here is that he includes veg options in his price breakdowns. It’s not more expensive to eat vegan! OK?!!

    How revolting: a guy in Cleveland had very poorly hidden the bodies of six women—who had been raped and murdered—“in and around” his house, which is next door to a sausage factory, which some people blamed for the stench. Rotting carcasses stink, be they human or other animal.

    In fucked-up and depressing animal news, there’s still one organization associated with the veal calf slaughterhouse exposé that apparently supports the obscene treatment of those baby cows. Unregulated free markets always arrive at the best solutions, right?

    The SF Bay Guardian makes a giant effort and reviews Greens. Revelation: it still makes good food. Your omnivorous friends will not complain (too much) about being denied their meat for one meal. Like we were saying, a new restaurant critic with some imagination re: veg food, please.

    Our pals at CSA Delivery blog have been killing it with their vegan recipes lately: dolmas with caramelized leek hummus; chard and chickpea burgers with quick pickled veggies; vegetable curry; soft chili tofu. UGH SO HUNGRY.

    On Saturday, Nov. 21, friends-of-Vegansaurus Farm Sanctuary are hosting a Celebration for the Turkeys dinner, “designed” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau! Tickets cost $75 for adults and $35 for children, and are on sale now. Unless you are also a famous vegan cookbook author, this is guaranteed to be a lot tastier than your Thanksgiving dinner, so you might as well go. Plus it supports farm animals, instead of crazy relatives who drink too much/not enough; a pig will never ask you when you’re going to give it grandchildren or if you’ve put on weight.


    An Omnivore’s take/rant on the cult of David Chang.  »

    OK, so when I first heard about Ubuntu starting to serve meat on special Tuesdays or whatever I was all, WTF UBUNTU?!?! Then I realized, hey the economy and all that BS, and I am totally supportive of any and everything Ubuntu tries to do (and if you haven’t tried their Marcona almonds with lavender sea salt then you are missing out on ECSTACY, YES THE DRUG I LOVE TRIPPING ON E I MEAN ALMONDS TOUCH ME PLEASE) so if Ubuntu needs to make a quick buck by serving meat like every other Napa restaurant then so be it, ‘cause I will WIN THIS by GOING ON WEDNESDAY, HUZZAH!

    But THEN I heard that it’s gonna involve lame-ass “guest chefs” or something else equally as ‘tarded, and that it’s gonna involve David Chang, and I’m like WTF all over again.

    David Chang owns 97 Momofuku-branded craptacular restaurants in Manhattan and let me tell you something: he’s totally mean; and also, homie, your food ain’t all that, y’hear? And notwithstanding the stupid “figs on a plate I hate you San Francisco and vegetarians BLAH BLAH BLAH” comments he said, we already have a David Chang here and his name is Charles Phan and in SF HE AIN’T ALL THAT. Slanted Door is one of the hardest restaurants to get a reservation to but I think if you ask any foodie what they think about Slanted Door, they’d be all, Yeah it’s all right, but it’s way too expensive and I’d only go there on an expense account. Because in reality what we have here is a Chinese dude smiling at you letting you know that you shouldn’t be scared to eat Chinese food because THIS Chinese food is different because it’s Niman Ranch, but then you look all around you and IT’S ALL WHITE PEOPLE IN COLLARED SHIRTS, because Chinese people know what the real shit is all about and don’t need to be comforted knowing their own cuisine and don’t get me started on stupid yuppies co-opting street food because at the end of the day it’s just yuppie white folks not wanting to feel guilty about their discomfort with other cultures. And yes this was the longest sentence in the history of sentences but I think we all know what I’m getting at here, right?!?

    I rant, yes, but at the end of the day, Momofuku and all its 1,598 incarnations just aren’t good. And to Ubuntu I say, Go on with your bad self, and make hella money, but dude, why you gotta throw David Chang a bone? Stop trying to make me love you less!

    This rant is brought to you by Omnivore Ed. Let it be known that Vegansaurus also thinks David Chang is a shithead and his cult-like following is definitely goofy. I mean, what? Does his food give you a bigger penis or cause you to sprout wings? NO? SHUT. UP. Also, we ask you this: IS IT COINCIDENCE THAT “CHANG” RHYMES WITH “DUMBASS OVERRATED CHEFLEBRITY”??? RIDDLE ME THAT!


    Ubuntu to serve a-what-u?? Alternately, OH HELL NO UBUNTU.  »

    It looks like Ubuntu is gonna start serving up dishes with meat in them on certain Tuesdays as part of some stupid guest-chef series AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE CULT OF DAVID CHANG. You know what would be more interesting, Ubuntu? Challenge your chefs to make “enlightened” vegetarian food, using all of your bounty; I mean, that garden alone should be able to inspire the Colonel into making some tasty veg eats. If you can’t cut it with those resources and have to use meat, you are a terrible chef. It’s like, you know, there is ONE restaurant in all of Napa to go to and not worry about cross-contamination and other funky stuff in your veg food and there are what, a billion that offer tons of meaty dishes and maybe one vegetarian options if you’re lucky? Oh and vegans, fuck off. This is seriously disappointing. I was all psyched when they received a Michelin Star but this takes back a lot of that excitement. I mean, it was already goofy enough that you are a YOGA STUDIO/RESTAURANT but now this? COME ON NOW.


    Rocket Dog fundraiser!, cupcakes go boom, more urban chickens, famous writers tell you about food, and we are spoiled produce-cocktail-swillers in the Friday link-o-rama!  »

    Rocket Dog Rescue Happy Hour fundraiser at Doc’s Clock! Be there tomorrow, Sept. 5th, from 4 to 8 p.m. at 2575 Mission St. (between 21st and 22nd): 50 percent of the bar and 100 percent of the proceeds from the silent auction (with fantastic prizes!) will benefit Rocket Dog Rescue. Doc’s Clock will also take donations for VetSOS.

    Slate says, Watch out, cupcake-bakers, your business is a bubble on the verge of bursting! Author Daniel Gross briefly mentions that Babycakes “offers vegan cupcakes,” failing to note that it is also a “refined-sugar-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, soy-free…kosher” and organic bakery with a varied menu that includes savory baked goods. If Gross wants to conflate an entire specialty bakery with year-or-less-old, single-item stores with utterly generic product, he certainly may, but that is not the strongest way to make a point. At least, not to vegans. Presumably the fine ladies and gentlemen of Sticky Fingers Bakery, Sugar Beat Sweets, Sweet Avenue Bakeshop, Sweet Cakes Bakery, Violet Sweet Shoppe, Fat Bottom Bakery, and other purveyors of fine vegan baked goods would agree.

    Ooh fancy, it’s The Nation's 2009 food issue! Possibly pertinent topics include: starting a community garden, farmers’ markets in Mississippi, and Alice Waters on school lunch reform. Those articles, and quite a few more, are presently available in full for free online, so best get to reading while you can, non-subscribers.

    Let’s look at restaurant reviews in the Chronicle! This week, Michael Bauer spent $200 on “pancetta-wrapped rabbit” at Oliveto and did not enjoy it. My heart bleeds for you and your “disappointing” meal, Mr. Bauer. Some might say next time, lay off the animals, but you soldier on. This is what I want in a restaurant reviewer: dedication to duty. For the vegans, four sad paragraphs about Golden Era, in which the reviewer turns up her nose at the fake chicken. What kind of joyless soul does not enjoy Supreme Master’s fake chicken?

    Pizzaiolo, you have some sick ideas about supper: "Diners will be able to wander over, Barolo in hand, to commune with the creatures that might contribute to their dinner." The "chef-owner" had a RISD-graduate-designed chicken coop built off of his restaurant to house his customers’ future meals/victims. I 100 percent want to vomit. This argument, that it makes you a better meat-eater when you "confront the reality" that your food used to be a thinking, feeling, living creature, it really burns. Yes, the disconnect between "antiseptic" packaged pieces of animals people buy from grocery stores and the actual animals those pieces came from is surreal and problematic; still, picking out the animal you want to have killed so you can eat it? How is that any better? That’s just on the acceptable side of bloodlust, and it’s revolting. If Pizzaiolo’s venture does anything, I hope it dissuades people from eating those chickens, when they’re forced to see the birds (theoretically) enjoying, you know, being alive, An apology to Pizzaiolo, we obviously didn’t read the article correctly! OUR SERIOUS BAD. It’s not vegan, but Pizzaiolo is taking a step to reduce their part in animal cruelty. What do Vegansaurus readers think of the backyard chicken trend?

    Ethicurean takes a look at a potential federal bailout of the National Pork Producers Council, a.k.a Big Pork. Surprise: it’s industry-controlled, hypocritical, and a total violation of sensible business/economic practices! Ha ha ha oh meat industries, you rascals,* you.

    The Vegan and Vegetarian Foundation created this lovely site called The Safety of Soya, to dispel the ridiculous myths and lies about soy that won’t seem to die—e.g., that “too much soy” will turn little heterosexual boys gay (Assuming they were heterosexual in the first place, that is).

    The champion vegetable-eaters behind CSA Delivery blog made a minestrone soup to cure 1) the San Francisco summer blues and 2) a shameful craving for terrible food (in this case, minestrone soup from the Olive Garden, where not even the breadsticks are vegan). It looks like it was quite successful:

    You know what Vegansaurus loves? Cocktails, are what we love. Lucky for us we live in one of the nation’s best cities for scrumptious, fancy drinks. Let us be grateful every day for these amazing bartenders who not only have amazing taste and imagination, but are so dedicated to their craft they grow fresh ingredients for the drinks they make you. Imagine that mojitonico with heirloom tomatoes picked that morning from a garden not five miles from the bar you’re sitting at. Now, die of bliss.

    Bon Appétit knows its way around a backhanded compliment: Of Jeremy Fox’s wonderful Ubuntu the magazine says “the focus…is not on what is missing (namely, meat) but what is lusciously abundant,” and waxes rhapsodic about the restaurant’s vegetables for over 100 words. Nice to see your priorities are in order there, guys.

    *no relation to super-commenter Rascal, Megan.


    Vegetarian Option Leads to Downfall on This Week’s Top Chef  »

    Someone get Jeremy Fox or the entire crew of Millennium up in this piece because this week’s veg options on Top Chef were SAD. Okay, not entirely, but the losing dish happened to be vegan and was created solely for the possibility of herbivores, which is nice, but at least make it interesting. We all know it is possible. We all know veg options can do so much better than (wait for it)…pasta salad.

    Yes, pasta salad. Any teenage vegetarian knows the pain of going to a family function, watching everyone around you feast on hamburgers and hot dogs while you are relegated to this sad bowl of wet pasta with some canned artichokes thrown in. And that is when you vow to learn to cook. Or bring veggie burgers next time.

    But, I digress. The pasta salad was a disaster. I don’t even want to link you to the recipe because I’m pretty sure everyone here knows how to boil water and open cans of food. Granted, the kitchen this week was military-style and limited, but in an upscale cooking competition where your competitors are coming up with things like bread pudding, three-bean chili, and chowder in that same kitchen, with the same limitations, it’s time to step up your game.

    Sadly, the contestant that went home last week was also a San Francisco chef, which was a double-burn! And she worked at GOOGLE. So embarrassing on so many levels.

    Other non-meaty dishes cooked this week included Laurine Wickett’s potato burger on portobello mushroom bun with fingerling chips. She made this for the Quickfire and I would eat about a million of all these things. This dish was almost vegan, except for heavy cream and an egg used to make the burgers. Easy to vegan-ize, right?! Jesse Sandlin’s sweet potato soup was another almost-vegan, just replace the heavy cream and go easy on the cayenne pepper (judges said it was too spicy). Finally, eliminated cheftetant Preeti made a vegetarian dish for the Quickfire: Russian banana fingerling potatoes with asparagus and tomatoes. Sub the butter with Earth Balance and you’re good to go!

    What did you all think of last night’s episode?

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