NYC: Come out for boozy vegan fun this weekend! Get your discount code here! »
Hey friends! You KNOW I love the drank, so I’m very excited about the Better Booze Fest this coming Saturday! The run down:
The 1st annual Better Booze Festival comes to New York City on September 20, 2014 at Center548 located at 548 W. 22nd St. Attendees will enjoy two floors of tastings from a variety of brewery, winery, and liquor company brands, a selection of delectable food vendors, as well as speakers, classes, activities and entertainment throughout each session. What makes it better? All beer, wine, and liquor at the event is 100% vegetarian and vegan!
Sounds nice? Sounds nice! You can see a list of the vendors here but our favorite, Champs, will be there serving food along with Great Performances. I don’t know them but I love trying new vegan caterers! Foster Dogs NYC is on the vendors list too so I’m hoping I get to pet some cute pups! Booze and cute pups are my two favorite things!
Tickets WILL NOT be available at the door so you have to buy them here. And just because we love you guys, enter this code to get $45 admission: DrinkBetter
Ok, hope to see you there!
NYC: Come party with Vegansaurus TONIGHT! »
YEAH BOYEEE! See, I know what vegans like.
Vegan Vine is ready to answer all your holiday wine pairing questions! Holler! »
Vegan Vine, who makes super excellent vegan wines*, wants to hear your Thanksgiving pairing questions. Because if we listened to regular wine companies, we’d never get to drink red because we don’t dig on the meat, am I right? It’s like Vegan Vine says:
Food/wine pairing suggestions from wine store clerks or on the back of bottles are generally all about what wines go best with animal flesh. You’re not going to find “try this wine with a seitan roulade stuffed with swiss chard and cashew ricotta” or “this wine pairs perfectly with raw zucchini pasta in sunflower seed pesto.”
So true! I asked for a vegan pairing suggestion to lead us off: Planning on apple pie or pumpkin pie? Try it with Chardonnay, they advise! I can do that. I will do that!
So go ahead and ask your questions (like what goes with Field Roast’s celebration roast??)! Questions can be posted on Vegan Vine’s Facebook page or on their Twitter page using the hashtag #veganwine.
Do you have any pairing questions for Vegan Vine? Have at it!
*If you aren’t aware, many wines are not vegan, for various reasons—and if they are, it’s difficult to find out! You can check with Barnivore for more info on specific wines…or just buy Vegan Vine and don’t worry about it! I totally am going to ask for a Vegan Vine wine club membership for xmas.
What’s that? You want more Halloween fun? OK! How about Candy Corn Coolers from Paint and Tofu! Because, on a serious note, vodka is the only way you’ll get me into a costume this year. Because, on a serious note, eff that noise.
Who is this Kori character from Paint and Tofu? I like her because she’s hella funny and it seems like there’s a lot of booze at her house—two qualities I admire very much.
Pine Box Rock Shop got a write-up in NYT! Get down with your cruelty-free self.
And what it says in the profile is true, it doesn’t only appeal to vegans. A friend of mine from work was telling me about his weekend and he totally ended up there. He had no idea it was a vegan bar until I told him. But they aren’t hiding that it’s vegan. As you should know, they have the NYC Vegan Shop-Ups there! It’s just a cool place everybody wants to be.
I have been waiting FOREVER for this. My adorable vegetarian brother (25 and single, ladies) has worked at Bar Agricole for about six months, and since he started he’s encouraged me to come over and have a meal. Four years older in body and four decades older in spirit, I always crankily declined, until last weekend, when I found myself unable to resist the siren song of clear skies, 70 degrees, and Sunday brunch.
Colin made a reservation for us (three omnivores and me), and noted that one of the party was vegan. When we arrived, he made me an espresso—they didn’t have any nondairy milk, which was surprising!—and later sent us out mimosas. I had already ordered a daquiri, so by the time this gorgeous plate arrived I was wide awake and tipsy.
Our server consulted with the chef about what to feed me, as nothing on Bar Agricole’s lovely menu was vegan (except most of the drinks, hooray). This is what he made: Giant beans, silky spinach, perfectly braised (I think) radishes, warm avocado, delicate leeks. You guys, I detest leeks, and I thoroughly enjoyed this meal. Every bite! It was salty and hearty and perfectly cooked, holy moly. I’ve never eaten a better radish.
Bar Agricole, you guys! Nothing’s explicitly vegan, but they will totally accommodate you, given warning—like any good restaurant—plus their drinks are scrumptious, and the coffee is local and excellent. I highly recommend it.
Road trip: Pho 14 and more in D.C.! »
In 2010, PETA named Washington, D.C. the country’s most veg-friendly large city. This is clearly bullshit. Other than Sticky Fingers Bakery, D.C. has no “holy shit you HAVE to go there” kinds of vegan places like SF, NYC, Denver, etc. Nevertheless, there’s some good eating in that city, and over the holidays I did my duty as an American and spent a lot of money eating out so my I wouldn’t have to blame all my weight gain on the vegan Christmas cookies my [awesome] mom made.
I hit up Pho 14 in Columbia Heights with some omnivore buddies one night. Pho is all about accessories, like [insert style pop culture figure whom I’m too big a nerd to keep track of]. The vegetarian broth is kinda sweet but then BAM! add some lime juice and it’s a whole new thing.
Notice the bowling-ball lacquer on the table.
My man DK and I shared some spring rolls (so tightly wrapped!) as an appetizer, then ordered a large tofu pho, which felt like stealing because they split it for us in the kitchen, and the two bowls were huge and dinner was so cheap! This would be a great place to bring a date because you’d look classier than you really were!
Another night, DK and I wanted something romantic near the Mall (the one with the monuments, not the one with Bath & Body Works). Mandu on K Street seemed a good choice given how obsessed we were with Sura in Oakland.
The waitstaff totally got the whole vegan thing, and only brought us munchies that had no shrimp or fish sauce. Our entrees were fresh and filling but a little bland—I wanted to run into the kitchen and whip up a sauce for my bi bim bop, but instead I just ate it all including every tiny little grain of rice.
D.C.’s also know for its Ethiopian food, which I love. We hit up Dukem this time, which had a nasty bathroom, a suspicious taste of butter, and was pricey, pretty much not worth it. Try Etete or Meskerem if you’re there, those are better. But really just go to Cafe Colucci in Oakland, it’s the absolute bestest, I’m considering having children so I can send them there to be indentured servants and learn to cook for me that way.
The actual highlight for me was all about booze, duh: The Gibson, a $12-fancy-cocktail joint near all the Ethiopian places on U Street. Make a reservation and bring a smartphone, because you’re going to need to Wikipedia the shit out of their changing, incredible menu (Akvavit what?). Everything we tried was spectacular—better than SF’s Bourbon & Branch or Williams & Graham in Denver—but watch out for the egg whites they sometimes want to put in things. Gross. Definitely a great date place, especially if someone else is buying! I’m gonna start dating again just so people will buy me drinks; it’s good for my husband, too, though, I swear.
Cookbook Review: The Tipsy Vegan! »
I got a gratis copy of John Schlimm’s The Tipsy Vegan to review for you guys! Rachel has been on a cookbook review roll, as I’m sure you’ve read, but when I saw “tipsy,” I knew this book was for yours truly. However, this is not a book of vegan cocktails like I thought! It’s all about cooking with wine and liquor. But there are a handful of cocktail recipes as well, they kick off each chapter.
To sum up the book in three words: Fun, challenging, sassy! That’s right, sassy. The tone of the book is very jovial and lighthearted, which I appreciate. And you are encouraged to enjoy your booze! As god intended. One thing I will say is that I’m not sure it’s really a book for beginners. It’s for more of a mid-level to experienced cook. There are lots of ingredients, lots of different techniques involved, and lots of recipes requiring things like ice cream makers and food processors (which I do not have because I’ve slimmed down my kitchen accessories. Oh, life in the big city!). A bowl and spoon are not going to get you very far here. On the other end of the spectrum, this is just the thing for the uninspired cook! It’ll give your cooking a kick in the pants! The recipes and ingredients are inventive and interesting. And the book is entertaining. I’m a fan!
I tried two of the recipes: Bruschetta on a Bender and Rockin’ Roasted Potatoes With Racy Rosemary and Mustard. The potatoes, the recipe for which you can get over on NYT, had vodka in them, which I had because my first housewarming gift was a half-empty bottle of Ketel One (#classy). Both recipes called for vermouth, but the potatoes said you could use a dry white wine instead and the bruschetta said a fruity red would work too. As I don’t know what I’d do with a bottle of vermouth and you better believe I know what to do with two bottles of wine, I opted for the wine. But the book said I could!
I don’t know what you call the sauce I made for the potatoes but it was damn good! Like, I was about to lick the bowl, horseradish and all. I had a little sauce left over and I put it in a cup to save in the fridge. I’m thinking Brussels sprouts!
The bruschetta was interesting because it called for thyme instead of your typical basil. My bro and sis-in-law were ‘bout it for the bruschetta! They both had like seven pieces. I liked it too but I did miss the basil. But there’s really no need to buy a cookbook with a basil bruschetta recipe, is there? And red wine on the tomatoes? Genius! Why don’t we do that all the time? We can from now on. Pish, I don’t even remember what life was like before red wine-soaked tomatoes!
Sweet Instagram pic of the bruschetta. Oh, Instagram, how I love you. Follow me: @MeganRascal!!!
Check it, I scored the Bruschetta on a Bender recipe for you! With permission from Da Capo Press, naturally:
Bruschetta on a Bender
Ingredients4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and very coarsely chopped
2 tsp. kosher salt
12 slices crusty French or Italian bread, about 3 inches in diameter
1 garlic clove, peeled and split
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. dry vermouth or a fruity red wine
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tsp. dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
Toss the tomatoes with the salt and drain for 30 minutes in a large colander set over a bowl.
Under a hot broiler, toast the bread slices on both sides.
Rub the toasted top of each slice with the split garlic clove and lightly brush the top of each slice with the olive oil
Gently press down on the drained tomatoes to extract even more juices. Then transfer them to another bowl and toss with the balsamic vinegar, dry vermouth, thyme, and oregano.
Season with the pepper to taste. Spoon the tomato mixture in small mounds on top of the toasts and serve at once.
Yield: 12 bruschettas
Yay! Now you can make the bruschetta just like your pal Megan.
There are a lot of other great-sounding recipes I still want to try, namely the Merlot ice. Basically a Merlot slushy, it requires a food processor. I’m about to get one just to make it. Can you imagine? A Merlot slushy? Be still my heart!
Before I sign off, I’ll add another point: this book doesn’t really feel like a vegan cookbook, it feels like a “regular” cookbook. It’s not really about being vegan and you aren’t making approximations of omni recipes you’ve been missing; you’re making fun and exciting recipes that are also vegan. I think omnis would certainly enjoy this book too and if not for the title, I doubt they’d notice the absence of animals products. It’s definitely a good cookbook if you’re entertaining a mixed-diet crowd! So I say check it out and get a little crazy. A little crunked, even. Go for it.
Megan Rascal & Erin Red take on Pine Box Rock Shop! »
Do you know what happens when two kickass vegan broads meet up at a vegan bar in Brooklyn?
WAFFLES HAPPEN, THAT’S WHAT!
And awesome conversation over vegan Bloody Marys too! Your favorite East Coast badasses, Megan Rascal and Erin Red, stopped into Pine Box Rock Shop recently after hearing about their weekly Waffle Brunch (every Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.). First on the agenda were some beverages to whet our appetites—Megan enjoyed some pretty all right mimosas while Erin Red sampled PBRS’ much-hyped Bloody Marys. Good thing our voracious vegan appetites were on duty because these drinks were NOT small! The Bloody Marys were practically meals in themselves, with pickled veggies and celery and rich, layered flavors resulting in quite a kick in the pants. The mimosas were decent. The waffles were fluffy and scrumptious, and in true form we managed to sample three amazing toppings: peach compote, whiskey chocolate walnut (if I’m remembering correctly), and traditional maple syrup with Earth Balance. Holy YUM; they practically had to roll us out of there!
The venue was open and airy, and the crowd was surprisingly big and diverse for a Sunday afternoon. We enjoyed the live music and the scenery, and DEFINITELY took note of the extensive and creative cocktail menu! Pine Box Rock Shop looks like a perfect venue for vegans to bring their omni pals—fill them with waffles and convince them to go vegan over a few vegan White Russians. PERF!