The Vegansaurus fave finds of 2013! »
Happy new year, everyone! In honor of the passing of the 2013 calendar year, we here at Vegansaurus have compiled a list of our favorite vegan finds of the last 12 months. Keep in mind some of the products were not necessarily new to the market, just new to us! What better way to celebrate the new year by discussing what we loved in 2013? Okay fine, pizza, champagne and friends is pretty good way too.
I’ll start with myself because I, Jenny, am very excited about this list! I would like to be a gentlewoman, but I’m going first. In no particular order, my very favorite vegan finds of 2013 are as follows:
- Green New American Vegetarian
A super restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona! My pal Britney and I stayed in Phoenix two nights, on a trip to see the Grand Canyon. We ate at Green three times. I need to make it back in 2014 for their Big Wac burger and “cream cheese crab” puffs. Nami bakery, another vegan spot, is located right next door and they are so much fun to follow on Instagram (@namivegansweets).
- New Vegan Skincare Finds
On the skincare front, I discovered Too-Faced mascara and Own eye cream! Vegan beauty life-savers!
- Olives for Dinner
More specifically, Erin’s recipe for hearts of palm crab cakes! I love them so much, I make them constantly. You may not know this, but I’m kind of the vegan seafood queen. At least that’s what Holly, aka Veganadian, has dubbed me, and I’m taking it!
- Artisanal vegan cheeses
Last but certainly not least. My two faves this year were the smoked Punk Rawk Labs cashew cheese and Kite Hill’s White Alder. I’d pick some up for my NYE party, but I don’t like sharing them!
Now onto the rest of the Vegansaurus crew!
- Best vegan cheesesteak
Spak Brothers in Pittsburg. The seitan was perfectly sliced thin and fried crisp, with just the right amount of mayo and daiya cheese, and a perfect bun. Worth the road trip!
- Earth Balance’s new cheese puffs and popcorn
Probably the most addictive new food products to hit store shelves…ever? [JB note: Thanks, Rachel! Just picked some up because now I can’t get them out of my head!]
- The Northface Thermoball Hoodie
The best synthetic alternative to down puffies ever made. My day job, Backpacker Magazine, gave them an editor’s choice award; I’ve got one and it rocks!
- Defiant Daughters
Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals and the Sexual Politics of Meat. [Our Sarah was one of the contributors!]
I was thrilled to put to paper some of the many ways that Carol J. Adams’ work has impacted my life and activism career, and to share how my relationship with my brother Asher grew due to our mutual love of Carol’s book The Sexual Politics of Meat and shared commitment to veganism!
- “I am Healthy" juice
From Cafe Gratitude, at Larchmont in LA . It’s pretty standard with kale, celery, cucumber and lemon juice but you can’t beat it.
- Brussels sprouts
I totally fell hard for Brussels sprouts this year; I blame Vedge Restaurant!
- Viva La Vegan grocery express
In Santa Monica. VEGAN GROCERY STORE: need I say more? They have every vegan item you could imagine!
- Sophie’s Kitchen vegan crab cakes
Jenny Bradley turned me on to these and they are SO good in vegan “fish” tacos. [JB note: See everyone?! I am the vegan seafood queen!]
- Follow Your Heart’s fiesta blend shreds
They equal nacho and quesadilla heaven!
- The tofu “egg” salad on gluten-free bread from Flore.
This is the sandwich of the century!
- Stuff I Eat restaurant
In Inglewood, CA. Definitely in my top five fave vegan restaurants ever. They have a variety of comfort foods, and raw fare. It’s reasonably priced and the staff is SO nice and welcoming.
- Stuff I Eat restaurant
It’s vegan soul food! I’ve never had such hospitality at a restaurant before. They told us everything about the food and were genuinely interested in how long we had all been vegan. One of the cooks even came out and sat down at our table!
- The Bad Ass breakfast sandwich from Locali
Not that I found it 2013, but I moved to LA this last year and it was my go-to during my move. I’ve taken all of my guests there, out-of-towners especially. [JB note: it’s true, he took me to Locali to get one before he, Caroline and I hiked to the Hollywood sign a few weeks ago! It’s scrumptious!]
- Wynn hotel
A vegan mother-loving oasis.
- Center City Soft Pretzel Company
My fave Philly soft pretzels are vegan! AND YOU CAN GET THEM SHIPPED TO YOU!
- Paulie Gee’s
The Greenpoint, BK favorite has an extensive vegan menu and their vegan ricotta is out of control!
- Gristle Tattoo
And more generally, the joy of vegan tattoos!
- My new vegan friends Jess and James
The dynamic duo, are just the coolest most best and show me lots of great vegan food and terrible, terrible 90s music. [JB note: there is such a thing as terrible 90s music?]
Happy Almost New Year: it’s the Vegansaurus best meals of 2012! »
You didn’t think we’d let 2013 come at us without a best of list, did you? OF COURSE NOT. So for your reading pleasure, we came up with our very favorite meals of 2012. Let’s do this!
Jenny (that’s me!): My new favorite restaurant of all time is Pura Vida in Las Vegas. I ate so many wonderful meals this year, but Pura Vida topped them all. Chef Mayra is a culinary mastermind—her dishes are vibrantly colorful and packed with so much flavor! Almost every day I think about the breakfast burrito I had about eight months ago, and I cannot wait to to get back to Vegas to hit her up again! I’ve actually planned my entire wedding in Vegas (sans groom) (for now) solely based on Chef Mayra catering the elegant debauchery that will no doubt ensue.
Latin’tude breakfast burrito, I love you!
Megan: ”For me, it was the year of chickpea flour—and more specifically, the Tuscan chickpea frittata. Oh boy did we have some good times this year! I made them every which way from Sunday. So easy and so yummy! And totes versatile. It’s the best!”
Man, that was a lot of fun, when Megan was making all those frittatas! I can’t believe I never tried one myself, but I suppose that will have to be what 2013 is for!
Vegan, gluten-free frittata; so many delicious combinations!
Laura: ”The VegNews all-cheese holiday party, catered by Miyoko Schinner was, in a word, mind blowing! Cheese, cheese, and more cheese!! Giant cheese-stuffed ravioli was maybe the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my life (SORRY ABOUT THE PHOTO, I’m too pretty to be good at anything!) and fried croquettes on amazing salad, and so much more. Vegan meringue, too! Holy mother!
"Vegan cheese, you’ve come a long way since your days of gross inedibility! Buy Miyoko’s book IMMEDIATELY!”
Hot dang, that VegNews staff knows how to get down!
Vegan cheese, you HAVE come a long way!
Meave: Of course, sometimes it is impossible to pick just one, so our Meave gives the lowdown on her top five! First, comes Isa’s Maple Pecan Pie, because what holiday is complete without this delectable dessert? (Follow Meave on Instagram to see how her beautiful pie turned out—I was blown away at its loveliness!)
Maple pecan pie, before meeting the oven!
Next up we have a filling and colorful veg bowl, to which Meave explains, “Angela Liddon, salad genius, made so many of my lunches better with her legume and veg bowls, but my favorite was her Lightened Up Protein Power Goddess Bowl. Meave is quite the salad dressing connoisseur (“I’m picky”), so if this made the list, you know it’s got to be good! Of course we can’t leave out the brunch at Donut Farm, which includes Meave’s personal faves — the winter hash, double-dipped donuts, banana fritters and potato works!
Winter hash forever! Or at least until spring!
Sarah: Keeping up with her title, Sarah dishes out some raw opinions, telling us her favorite dish of 2012 was “Cafe Gratitude’s I Am Whole bowl. Always”. I bet she’s missing that over on the East Coast! Hope you got your fill on your recent L.A. adventure, Sarah!
Sarah’s version of said bowl, via her personal blog queerveganfood.com.
Andrew: “I’m going to have to go with our recent Mexican vegan Christmas dinner menu—homemade refried beans, Spanish rice, homemade mole with tofu, three kinds of homemade tamales (soyrizo, mushroom and mole, and green chile and cheese); margarita pizza with soyrizo (definitely NOT homemade); and horchata made from scratch, which was used for Mexican White Russians. This fed seven of us at dinner and then everyone got some to take home. And we’ve had leftovers for one meal a day since.” I did manage to get myself invited to this magnificent dinner, but alas, Long Beach was just too far away!
Check out this magnificent plate, made complete with a Tecate, of course!
That’s enough about us and our favorites—now it’s your turn to rave about your absolute faves from 2012, so the rest of us can enjoy them in 2013! Happy New Year everybody!
Learning to live and love and eat hella delicious raw food in San Francisco (without Cafe Gratitude) »
That’s what I wrote about over at The Bold Italic today! You should read it and then make me some Key Lime Pie! And by you, I mean Jenny Bradley, who used to work there and make KLP for a living, LUCKY GIRL. Lucky, that is, except for all the shady-ass shit the Cafe Gratitude employers were pulling, more of which seems to come out daily, of which I report on in a very shady manner. What can I say? I love to gossip and nobody every accused me of being a journalist lolz. Fair and impartial has no place on the internet and the sooner we all learn that and everyone just starts publishing websites that consist entirely of Top 10 lists (e.g. fat people’s 15 favorite foods, Phyllis Diller’s top 20 sexcapades, Best 16 reasons to end it all today, etc.) then the sooner we can all move into the future, burning cities and all.
Insider gossip/news: more Cafe Gratitude drama-rama! »
An anonymous tipster wrote in with this juicy tidbit of even more fucked-up Cafe Gratitude happenings:
This is more than a tip. It is a fact. Cafe Gratitude stuck the owners of the building in Healdsburg with over a year and a half lease by breaking the lease early on the official five year lease. Cafe Gratitude was profitable in Healdsburg after three and a half years of drilling their employees to increase profits. Every time the employees met the goal for the month, the Engleharts would raise the bar even higher. And the employees kept meeting it, with a final gross daily of $2000 at the time of closure.
The owners of the Healdsburg building did everything they could to build up Cafe Gratitude, even forgoing rent and utilities for an entire year, and after that moving to a very beneficial 5% of gross sales to the Engleharts for another year, and doing much of the buildout for Cafe Gratitude in the beginning despite it being under contract for the Engleharts to pay.
How were the very generous and hard working owners of the building treated? They received nothing in return except a very short notice of closure and the last month rent unpaid. The Engleharts develop a culture of trust and community in order to receive from others. But what do they actually give to their landlords and employees other than their love?
Verrrrrrry interesting. Now, what do you think of all of this? I think it’s bullshit and I’m bummed about how shitty Cafe Gratitude’s weirdo mcbeardo (look for that technical diagnosis in the DSM-VI) owners treated their employees and I sure as shit will miss that key lime pie. Man, I loved that pie. I loved that pie more than I love most/possibly all people. Thank the lord for Rachel’s Cafe Gratitude bereavement plan… although I’ve been way too lazy thus far to make anything because I’m extremely lazy. But seriously, PIE:
[photo from Green La Girl]
Look What We Made! Calzones! Raw Tiramisu! »
Self-esteem requires that one take a moment to brag when one does something awesome. Here are two delicious things that were recently born in my house. If someone could come teach me to take photos of food, that would be great, ok thanks.
Awesome Thing #1: Ginormous Calzones
My husband Danny made these beauties, on a weeknight no less. They’re filled with a tofu-cashew-olive ricotta (recipe from Veganomicon with kalamatas thrown in; leave out the salt), broccoli and homemade seitan saute, and a smidge of Daiya. OMG YUM can we get married again? I am the luckiest person.
Awesome Thing #2: Cafe Gratitude’s Raw Tiramisu
I taught you how to cope with the impending loss of CG, and now here’s me doing it! I made bomber, delicious, raw tiramisu. It took lots of planning (including steps begun 48 hours before I wanted to eat), weird ingredients (Irish moss, lecithin, raw cacao powder), and like 4 hours to make, but it was SO worth it.
Best new thing I learned: Making my own coconut milk! Just buy one of those Thai young coconuts, hack it open, put both the water and the flesh/meat (ick words) in the blender, and swoon.
Review: Pressed Juicery in Los Angeles »
Do you know when the best time to travel is? The dead of winter! Seriously, plane tickets are so cheap. I’ve taken it upon my myself to whisk myself away on weekends (like any self respecting socialite) to
eat visit friends near and far. Now, I’m back to report on all my meals from Chicago, to LA, to Reno! But first I gotta get some sleep — I’m not a machine. Jeez! In the meantime (while I’m catching up on SF life), here’s a roadtrip preview!
One of my favorite places I hit up in the last three weeks was Pressed Juicery in L.A. It was the spot I was most excited about checking out; I love vegetable juice, especially when it’s raw, cold-pressed, and unpasteurized. And celebrities go there! I learned of Pressed Juicery from following Hello Giggles, as the editors of that blog are always praising it. [Ed.: Jenny LOVES Hello Giggles!]
I went to the West Hollywood location, which was a long bus ride from Echo Park, but so worth it. Normally I can be kind of shy and nervous, but not when I got to the counter of this Pressed Juicery. I talked the counter guy’s ear off: I told him where I lived and worked, and how I heard about the place; he told me a story about Erin McKenna of Babycakes—all kinds of good stuff. As I felt indecisive about which juices to try, I inquired as to what his fave was, which, as seen below, is Roots 3. I asked for one with beets and he recommended the Roots 3, then told me it happens to be Sophia Rossi’s fave. SOLD!
I’m trying to detox from Reno and am pining for another one of these juices!
Where can I get raw vegetable juice in San Francisco? I always drink the Super 8 at Source and used to down gallons of the Healthy at Café Gratitude. Lately I’ve been hitting up Jamba Juice for wheatgrass shots, but where else can I go? I need reader recommendations, please!
"Blink and you’ll miss it" storefront in West Hollywood.
Pressed Juicery has three locations in Southern California: In West Hollywood at 8714 Santa Monica Blvd.; in Malibu (out of a truck!) at 3939 Cross Creek Rd.; and in Brentwood at 13050 San Vicente Blvd. #120.
Berkeley Café Gratitude to stay open, Oakland Whole Foods Gratitude to close Feb. 28 »
According the the sign below, the Café Gratitude in the Oakland Whole Foods is closing on Feb. 28. What a bummer. I can’t believe that the Whole Foods Gratitude isn’t a major money-maker. It’s always packed! And packed with all different kinds of people, the kinds of people I don’t normally see in a Café Gratitude. I don’t know, it’s awesome seeing such a diverse crowd eating kale. And that includes me! I always buy a green juice while I’m shopping, and leave with at least one slice of cheesecake. My heart breaks a little at this news! Oh well, there’s always Rachel’s plan. Time to get raw, folks.
Café Gratitude legal issues “resolved,” but no word on restaurant closures »
The Bay Citizen reported yesterday that the legal issues stemming from the lawsuits filed against the company late last year have been “resolved.” Unfortunately, according to the terms of the settlement, none of the parties can discuss those terms, so we don’t know what’s going on. The law! It’s so frustrating when it’s not working in your favor!
Even more frustratingly, all the Engelharts will say about the previously announced sales of every Northern California Café Gratitude location — including our beloved Gracias Madre and the commercial kitchen — is “some will close and some will stay open.” DANG IT, ENGELHARTS! Why do you torture us like this! Looks like we might still need Rachel’s bereavement plan. Or you could pack it in and join Sarah E. Brown’s raw vegan paradise settlement in Patagonia, Ariz. First we recommend eating at Gracias Madre as much as possible; a thriving restaurant is less likely to be closed, right? RIGHT?
Need a post-Café Gratitude job? Check out the Tree of Life in Arizona »
Our pal, Vegansaurus raw correspondent Sarah E. Brown, is possibly the nicest person we know. She just wants everyone to be healthy and happy! She rocks the raw vegan lifestyle like a boss, but you know, a totally peaceful and nice boss. To that end, after reading the unhappy news about Café Gratitude closing its eight Northern California locations, she wrote us with the following offer:
The Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, a raw vegan retreat center located in Patagonia, Ariz., run by Gabriel Cousens, M.D. is currently hiring for volunteer and paid positions in the 100 percent organic, live vegan cafe, in the natural dispensary, videography and I.T. department, veganic garden, and other areas at our center, and would love to extend an invitation for Café Gratitude employees who will lose their jobs due to the closing of all Northern California locations to apply to join our team.
Working at the Tree of Life includes many benefits, including all organic, raw, vegan meals included, access to yoga classes, an InfraRed sauna, pool, hot tubs, daily meditation and regular qi gong, access to our gorgeous scenic facilities and more. Click this link to find out more about opportunities, and for information on how to apply for open positions.
Thanks so much, Sarah! Please don’t steal all the awesome raw vegans away to Patagonia!
Another celeb on the (awesomest) band wagon: Eliza Dushku goes vegan! »
Yet another post in the series you love to hate, but can’t keep yourself from reading: Another celeb goes vegan!
Eliza Dushku has taken to Twitter to announce she too, is going vegan after watching Forks Over Knives! I still need to watch this movie, no joke! I’m just so busy lately
watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians blogging, working, and being a lady about town.
On December 3rd, she tweeted, “That’s it! We watched #ForksOverKnives & are going for a plant-based diet- that doc is astounding! Animal products no bien, homies #watchdoc.” While perusing her Twitter account I also caught a glimpse of a twitpic of her recent meal at the LA Café Gratitude (you know, the one NOT closing). You go, Eliza. Keep on rockin’ in the vegan world.
Now maybe we can put that whole “I shoot animals for sport and then eat them" thing behind us. Celebrities!
[Photo courtesy Ecorazzi]