Better Off Spread: totally metal gourmet nut butters with badass vegan flavors! »
If there’s two things I love (shut up, there’s at least two), it’s peanut butter and metal! So how could I not try Better Off Spread? Spoiler: I couldn’t not! As soon as I heard about the gourmet nut butter brand, I had to have some. Not all of their flavors are vegan but they sent me three vegan flavors to test drive: Every Rosemary Has Its Thorn (dark chocolate rosemary peanut butter!), And Justice For Almonds (dark chocolate coconut almond butter!), and The Ace Of Spice (spicy peppery peanut butter!).
I tried the chocolate coconut almond butter on some toaster waffles and it was the yum! I really like the grainy texture—that’s how I like my nut butters. Not all Skippy-style smooth. I like the little grains of nut. And I was worried about the coconut but it wasn’t that strong flavor-wise. I do think there were little bits of coconut, which blended nicely with the grainy texture and made it even a bit more crunchy (not like chunky peanut butter though).
As for the chocolate rosemary peanut butter, I was quite trepidacious. Rosemary and chocolate? Say whaaaa? But then I tried it and, low and behold, it was delicious! I managed to eat the entire mini jar in one sitting—straight, no chaser.
For my final act, I tried the spicy peppery peanut butter. I wasn’t sure how to eat it and I’m kind of a nancy about spice. The jar suggests noodles and such but I thought, hey! How about some spicy peanut butter tofu!
I pan-fried the tofu first. Then I microwaved the jar of peanut butter to liquify it a bit. I mixed it up and TA DA! Spicy peanut butter tofu. I know the picture looks like it’s battered and fried, but it’s not. I just couldn’t get the consistency very thin. It was pretty thick—kind of like eating spicy peanut butter on tofu. WHICH IS BASICALLY MY DREAM ANYWAY. So it was thick but very good. I think it would have been much-improved by some soy ginger sauce and that prob would have thinned the sauce a little. It also would have definitely been nice over a bed of sautéed spinach but not all of us plan ahead or leave our houses after dusk (vampires).
More fun things about Better Off Spread in their own words:
Our spreads are always made with the best ingredients we can find. We always use organic, non-GMO nuts and don’t add any oils, fats, preservatives or sugars to them, just natural ingredients combined to make freaking awesome flavors. All of our spreads are hand made in Brooklyn, many of them are vegan and gluten-free and straight up good for you.
Do you heart them? I heart them! That brings the count of things I love up to at least three. Take that, clinical depression!
But guys, I have half a jar left of the peppery peanut butter; what should I do with it?! Help!
NYC: A night of comedy to save dogs in need! »
What’s more fun than a barrel of laughs?! A barrel of laughs for charity! So save the date, New York: Come out on May 17th for An Evening of Jokes to Help People Who Help Dogs!
My friend and mentor Phil Gable is not only a dog lover, he’s a talented stand-up comic! Phil and several other funny people are combining these two interests for one special night of comedy to raise money for Positive Tales: a Brooklyn-based non-profit dedicated to helping animals in NYC. A little more about them (excuse the length of the excerpt, I just thought this was so great sounding that I couldn’t decide where to clip! So I pasted the whole thing! ‘CAUSE I DO WHAT I WANNA):
Positive Tails will provide grants to assist animals in three distinct ways – to fight animal abuse, help displaced animals and the over-population of dogs and cats, and to provide support to individuals and families who cannot afford veterinary emergency or illness care for their companion animals.
Positive Tails is not a rescue organization, but an organization dedicated to providing critical assistance to animals and people in-need. While we do work in conjunction with rescue groups in the city and support their missions, our focus is on providing medical treatment and helping people stay with their pets. We will work hard to lessen the occurrence of “economic euthanasia”, because we know how important pets are to people’s lives and vice versa. We want all animals to live out their doggie years and nine lives healthy and pain free with a loving family to call their own.
See? Doesn’t that sound awesome? The show is at Two Moon Art House and Cafe in Brooklyn. Tickets are $25 cash at the door and 100% of ticket sales will benefit Positive Tails. To guarantee a seat, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Get more info on FaceBook.
If you can’t make it on May 17th, you can still donate to Positive Tales. Or better yet, donate AND come to the show! Oh and when you get to the show, make sure you say hi to me! I will be the one knee-deep in a vodka tonic. A vodka tonic that will probably be full of lemons because of the gosh dang lime shortage. No amount of lemons will make it OK! They will just make it taste like carbonated floor cleaner! I know, I know, 1-800-alcoholic first world problems.
Meow Meow Tweet! vegan skincare to make you look and smell delicious »
I especially loved:
The cocoa cream, which softens your skin and makes it smell like really expensive chocolate, and I do love to smell edible.
The rosemary eucalyptus lip balm, which goes with me everywhere because it is perfect protection against this stupid post-winter weather that is wreaking absolute havoc on my poor sensitive lips.
The walnut oat face exfoliant. It comes as a powder that you make into a paste by adding water, and at first I had a hard time getting the proportions right, but once I got it, I loved it. It thoroughly exfoliates without abrading your delicate face, and after this winter I have about a million layers of dry, dead skin to slough off. Soon, I will have a radiant summer(-adjacent) glow, I’m sure of it.
I like to put the relief balm on my temples when I have a headache, and if I were into massages, I imagine I’d like it rubbed into my sore muscles, too. It’s also been pretty nice on the burns I am, as a very careless cook, constantly causing myself.
The repair balm has got myrrh, which I didn’t realize I was super into until I opened this little canister and fell in love. I put this stuff on my cuticles, on (closed!) cuts, and sometimes on my lips when they are especially chapped (seriously, I was not made for this weather), and it smells fancy and feels really great.
You can buy these and all of Meow Meow Tweet’s line (they have a deodorant cream that I wasn’t too crazy about, but a friend of mine and her mom adore it) at these fine brick-and-mortars and online. They also make appearances at the Vegan Shop-Up in Bushwick, and have an adorable blog. Meow Meow Tweet is all natural vegan body care, made with love by vegans. I love their stuff and I bet you will, too.
Get gourmet Philly pretzels right here in Brooklyn! »
Pelzer’s Pretzels, located in Crown Heights, BK, was started by a Philly transplant, in the hopes of bringing the Philadelphia soft pretzel game to NYC. Because really, Philly soft pretzels should be as ubiquitous across the country as the prison industrial complex! If not more so!
I emailed with Pelzer’s to find out if they had any vegan options. They have some meaty and cheesy pretzels but their everything, original and cran-mary are totally vegan! I even double checked because the pretzels were so shiny I thought they must be an egg-wash—nope! Veegs! Pelzer’s sent me those three varieties for free to try and some of their spicy beer mustard too. I shared the pretzels with my coworkers because I’m so nice to them. They were a hit! The spicy beer mustard went like hotcakes.
You can see just by looking that they are not like regular Philly pretzels, these are on some gourmet steez. They remind me of this super delicious pretzel I had at the Zurich airport once (Megan Rascal: International Hassle). The outside/skin/whatever is so amazing! It’s flavorful and thick and awesome.
I liked the original of course, and I liked the everything. I thought the everything would be my favorite as I’m an everything-enthusiast, and while I really liked the everything, I’m head over heels for the cran-mary! It’s cranberry and rosemary, if you didn’t get the name. I’m not super into cranberries but they were SO GOOD in the pretzel. And the rosemary? HAVE MERCY.
You’ll also like this bit from their about us:
As the source for artisanal Philadelphia style soft pretzels in New York City, Pelzer’s Pretzels is committed to making wholesome and delicious pretzels from the best available ingredients, providing fair wages and promoting worker dignity, and investing long-term in our local Brooklyn community.
Love it! Totally Philly style too. Without the massive chip on the shoulder part.
In conclusion, these are a can’t-miss for any pretzel-lover and a definite boon for the accidentally-vegan Brooklyn food scene! All thumbs up!
Three Letters serves delicious French-inspired vegan eats in Brooklyn! »
That’s Meave seated at the bar. She was dressed like a librarian, i.e. I had the hottest date in the place.
Three Letters is a casual French-American spot in Clinton Hill, BK. They are not a vegan restaurant and maybe that’s why they were a bit off our radar, but it turns out they have SO MANY vegan options! And we are not talking a thawed Garden Burger here; Three Letters has some serious vegan food. The chef, Pip, invited Meave and me to come by for a free tasting, which of course we did because we are so selfless in our journey to provide you with all the important veggie news.
We loved the place as soon as we walked in because it’s freaking adorable. It’s like a real brasserie! Pip came over and introduced himself, and now he is my new favorite person. He’s not vegan (anymore), but he knows a lot of vegans and wanted to make sure the menu had good veg options. But there is no half-stepping for Pip! The vegan items on the menu are unique, elaborate, fun and, most importantly, delicious! He said he made it a point to make the vegetarian options (almost) all vegan, too, because vegetarians are usually happy to eat vegan and cheese is apparently boring to cook with. Pro tip: It also comes out of a cow’s boob! Ick!
It was total mood lighting so the pics didn’t come out that well, but trust these things look nicer in real life. We started with fried pickled veggies and chickpea creppettes.
The pickled veggies were good but I’m not super into pickled stuff. The creppettes were my jam, though! And Meave loved the chimichurri sauce they came with, too, which was bright and herbaceous and perfect.
Above is a collard green chiffonade salad with mustard vinaigrette. Yummy! Even I liked it and I think salad is for squares. Raw collards are way better chiffonaded than used as a “gluten-free” wrap at a raw place.
OK, oK, here we have a bowl of their mushroom soup—or as we will now call it, a bowl of magic! I like mushrooms but I don’t think I’d ever order a whole mushroom soup. WHAT AN IDIOT IT’S THE BEST THING EVER. This soup, a mushroom broth with sautéed mushrooms, chive oil, kale chips, and tofu, was my absolute favorite thing we had. And it was hella cold yesterday so this was basically perfect.
The above is the tempeh bon mise. It was super good. If you like beefy flavor, this is your new best friend. The bread was great, too!
We also had the seitan au ragout which was awesome but didn’t photograph well. It came with the crispiest brussels! Plus the walnut oil mashed potatoes tasted both walnutty and potatoey, and the texture was perf under the crispy, meaty seitan and crunchy sprouts.
Finally, we had this adorable apple cobbler. Meave loved it so much and basically ate the whole thing. JK! But I did let her have a bite or two. The crust on top was really nice—thick but not too dense.
Oh and we also had some of their wonderful wine that’s ON TAP! Wine on tap! Hilar! It was great. And I had an apple ginger hot toddy which definitely hit the spot on the cold night. You could totally just go there for drinks, too, but because you always want a snack when drinking, you should 100 percent order the crepettes. You’ll feel so fancy and be so happy.
All in all, we love this place. The atmosphere is great, and there are so many different yummy vegan things to try! And like I said, this is not a vegan place. They serve all kinds of meat. I think that combo makes it special in NYC, where it’s hard to find a place that satisfies your omni fam but also has some awesome vegan options for you. It’s a tall order! Usually we just go to the omni place and get the salad sans chèvre. BORING. But now we can go to Three Letters! Huzzah!
SPECIAL HEADS UP! Three Letters is having a super fun Valentine’s Day event. They are having a prix fixe menu for you paired-off lovebirds, with vegan options complete with flourless chocolate and hazelnut cake (!!!) that Pip says is amazing. But they are also having a PALentine’s Day menu, too! Groups of three or more can get their own prix fixe menu full of vegan options. The Palentine’s special is $30 each and instead of a wine pairing, it includes a pitcher of beer! How cute? Hint: SO CUTE! Pals can also get the vegan flourless chocolate and hazelnut cake (!!!). Which is all I really care about. Well, the cake and the beer. Cake and beer are my best pals!
Maimonides Of Brooklyn serves the vegan deliciousness »
I went to Maimonides of Brooklyn for brunch yesterday with my fave vegan couple. It was the second time I’d been there and reminded me I never posted about the first time I went! With the same couple, but for dinner. M.O.B.’s, as they call it, is pretty freaking awesome. It’s a vegan spot on Atlantic right by Barclays. I haven’t had the signature dish, some sort of pizza/flatbread shaped like the Brooklyn bridge, but everything I have had has been delicious. Above you can see the eggplant biscuit sandwich I had yesterday. The eggplant was smoked and didn’t taste very eggplant-y, which scores points in my book! It kind of tasted like bacon without the death. And I love the aioli on this! Oh and the biscuit itself—oh the biscuit itself! In a modified word, the biscuit sandwich is super-terrific.
Now, here are the pics from my dinner there many moons ago! I don’t remember a ton of specifics but I remember I liked everything. And dang, these pics came out well! If I do say so myself.
Yummy nugget things (the mustard that comes with these does have honey, so ask for mustard without honey—they are happy to oblige):
Tri-color cauliflower! So good and so pretty! The aioli on this was the jam:
The veggie burger gets an A++!:
Below is the mac and cheese with artichokes. I remember I liked it but it was slightly odd. I prefer the veggie burger. But who am I kidding, I’d totally get this again!
And for dessert, chocolate hazelnut torte! Very rich and creamy:
The place is not big and you do have to sit at communal tables but I’ve never had to talk to strangers (heaven forbid!); It was still like I was just there with the people I came with. Maybe because the tables are so roomy. Honestly I’m not one for communal seating but it doesn’t bother me here.
For some weird reason this place doesn’t seem to be well-known. I have no idea why—it’s great! The food is delicious and the atmosphere is fun and positive. I love it.
Coincidentally, my cousin, the famous philosophy expert, just released a podcast on Maimonides, the philosopher for which the restaurant is named. Time for some learning!
Fine & Raw: Organic raw chocolate from Brooklyn! »
Hey raw chocolate lovers and all the other kinds of chocolate lovers! Fine & Raw is a Williamsburg, Brooklyn-based raw chocolate company that makes yummy organic, vegan chocolates! They sent me some free bars to try and now I will tell you all about them!
Their mission “is to save the world through silliness and chocolate!” They use low-heat techniques and you’ll also be glad to know they make every effort to be environmentally friendly. Plus, reading their site is positively delightful! They are funny. And there’s some good info about chocolate on there like this!:
Cacao has been report to have these benefits:
- #1 food source of antioxidants
- #1 food source of magnesium
- Phenylethylamine (PEA) - the compound which scientists believe is released when you’re in love
- Anandamide - the ‘bliss chemical’
- Tryptophan – the precursor to serotonin.
- MAO Inhibitors – allows more serotonin to flow in your body. read: more fun
- Appetite suppresant & aphrodisiac
- None of the above statements have been evaluated by the FDA, although they told us they really love chocolate.
Yay chocolate! Don’t mind if I do!
Above is one of the truffle bars. Creamy and good! I had the peeps at work try all the chocolate of course because I am so nice to them and this was very popular. It’s not sweet but it’s not too bitter. A good balance.
Now, my friends, THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT! As I’ve said a million times, I love salty chocolate so this epic dark chocolate sea salt bar was music to my taste buds. And just look at that bar, they are not messing around! It’s a solid bar of chocolate. On the bitter side, so this is a grown-up kind of bar. And you can break it into sticks!
And maybe most importantly, they like dinos too!:
For you non-New Yorkers, you can order Fine & Raw chocolates from their website. Get your raw chocolate on around the globe!
Hey digital natives, we’re on Foursquare! »
As I mentioned on FB the other day, we got a Foursquare account! Because we are very on-trend and with-it. We now have an NYC list, a BK list, and a Philly list, complete with tips and a lot of pics. So check them out and save them or whatever and follow us so I feel like my work was worthwhile!
SF and LA lists are coming, as soon as I get those lazy west-coasters on that.
Foodswings is closing? Tell me this isn’t real life! »
Guys, wtf? I went to Caracas, the arepa place next to Foodswings in Brooklyn, and it looked like FoodSwings was shuttered. I checked on their FB and look what I saw!!!
From Dec. 5th:
And then from last week:
This is terrible news! Is there anything we can do? Does anyone have more on the story? Are they going to move to a new location? Please say yes! This totally blows.
Check it out, NYC! The New Year’s Eve vegan tasting menu from Three Letters! »
Three Letters’ vegan mushroom soup (to which you can add baked tofu).
Who says French restaurants can’t do vegan?! Well, my friend Peter, a hardcore French chef, for one… But not Three Letters in Brooklyn! Located in Clinton Hill, Three Letters is not a vegan restaurant but they have pretty awesome-sounding vegan options. Their chef, Pip, emailed us to let us know that in addition to an omni tasting menu this New Year’s Eve, they are having an all-vegan tasting menu! The theme is “French takes on southern American traditions.” It sounds OUT OF SIGHT:
Marinated Oyster mushroom, Leek Mignonette
Golden Turnip Soup,
turnip green oil, safron emulsion
collard green, kale chip, sesame and beets salad
hazelnut mushroom sausage, apple potato hash, cider jus
Black Eyed Pea Cassoulet
hen of the woods and yuba roulade, sweet onion
coconut nougat, rum caramel
OMG, right? So I haven’t been here yet but Meave and I are planning a Three Letters date AT THIS VERY MOMENT! Because this stuff sounds GOOD. Like, reading the menu is making me hyper. Calm down. But this is so perfect because my omni brother loves French food so we can go here together and both be happy!
If you want to spend your NYE at Three Letters, here are the details:
First seating is at 6:30, Last at 10:30, reservations strongly suggested but the bar will be available for walk-ins.
The cost is $60, which includes a glass of bubbly.
Additional wine pairing option for $35.
Call the restaurant to make reservations: 718-622-4679
So tell me, has anyone been here already? I want to hear all about it!
Their seitan entree with walnut oil mashed potatoes and flageolet ragout.